Ravenswood Rarities

CTA 4271-4272 head up a Ravenswood "A" train leaving Kimball and Lawrence on October 21, 1973. This shows how this pair of cars looked before they were renovated as part of CTA's historical fleet.

CTA 4271-4272 head up a Ravenswood “A” train leaving Kimball and Lawrence on October 21, 1973. This shows how this pair of cars looked before they were renovated as part of CTA’s historical fleet.

This time around, we have lots of classic traction photos for your consideration. For whatever reason, many of them were taken in the vicinity of Lawrence and Kimball, terminus of the CTA Brown Line (formerly known as the Ravenswood “L”).

There was a recent fantrip on the CTA “L” system, using historic cars 4271-4272. This sold out quickly, and unfortunately, we were not able to participate. But it did help raise money for two very worthy causes. Besides helping to keep these early 1920s railcars running on the CTA, funds also went to assist the Fox River Trolley Museum recover from the vandalism they suffered last year. We encourage our readers to help with these efforts by contacting those organizations directly.

We do have several images of 4271-4272 from previous fantrips, however (and one, at the top of this page, from one of the last times they were used in regular service).

Many of these images come courtesy of Bill Shapotkin. We hope that you will support Mr. Shapotkin’s efforts by attending his programs, which include the upcoming Hoosier Traction Meet this September. More about that will be found further down in this post. We also have some additional recent photo finds of our own.

Just to dispel any notion that these images always looked this way, this time we have included some “before” shots that you can contrast with the “after” ones. There is a lot of work that goes into making these images look better.

As always, if you can help provide any additional information about these photos, we would love to hear from you.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- A few of our readers have pointed out that in our last couple of posts, clicking on the various images with your mouse would not bring up a larger version of that picture, so you can study it more closely. We have fixed that issue in this new post, and promise we will go back soon and correct it on those two as well.

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

CTA PCC 4380 on the Wentworth line on June 16, 1958, less than a week before the end of streetcar service in Chicago.

CTA PCC 4380 on the Wentworth line on June 16, 1958, less than a week before the end of streetcar service in Chicago.

This is a duplicate slide, but started out as a 1958 Ektachrome slide, where the color layers other than red were unstable and faded badly. This left very little to work with, but I did the best I could.

This is a duplicate slide, but started out as a 1958 Ektachrome slide, where the color layers other than red were unstable and faded badly. This left very little to work with, but I did the best I could.

Here it is again, tweaked by our good friend J. J. Sedelmaier.

Here it is again, tweaked by our good friend J. J. Sedelmaier.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

This and several other similar photos were seriously underexposed.

This and several other similar photos were seriously underexposed.

CTA 2200-series "L" cars at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA 2200-series “L” cars at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA "Met" cars at Kimball Yard, being used either as offices or for storage, in August 1967. (Compare with the picture of these same cars a few years later, showing how they had deteriorated somewhat after being stored outdoors.)

CTA “Met” cars at Kimball Yard, being used either as offices or for storage, in August 1967. (Compare with the picture of these same cars a few years later, showing how they had deteriorated somewhat after being stored outdoors.)

CTA 5001 in the Kimball Yard on July 14, 1961.

CTA 5001 in the Kimball Yard on July 14, 1961.

Restoring this photo was particularly satisfying.

Restoring this photo was particularly satisfying.

CTA 2858 at Kimball on the Ravenswood line on April 14, 1957. I believe the occasion was a charter trip, held by the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. Don's Rail Photos: "2858 was built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 858. In 1913 it was renumbered 2858 and in 1923 it became CRT 2858."

CTA 2858 at Kimball on the Ravenswood line on April 14, 1957. I believe the occasion was a charter trip, held by the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. Don’s Rail Photos: “2858 was built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 858. In 1913 it was renumbered 2858 and in 1923 it became CRT 2858.”

CTA 4063 at Kimball and Lawrence on January 31, 1958.

CTA 4063 at Kimball and Lawrence on January 31, 1958.

CTA 6706 at the Kimball Yard on November 1, 1986. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6706 at the Kimball Yard on November 1, 1986. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6049-6050 at Kimball Yard on March 16, 1980.

CTA 6049-6050 at Kimball Yard on March 16, 1980.

CTA 6041-6042 at Kimball and Lawrence on March 2, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6041-6042 at Kimball and Lawrence on March 2, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 and 3441-3442 at Lawrence and Kimball. These cars were used on a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip in 2000. (John Allen Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 and 3441-3442 at Lawrence and Kimball. These cars were used on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip in 2000. (John Allen Photo)

CTA 2411-2412 have derailed at Kimball Yard on August 25, 1978.

CTA 2411-2412 have derailed at Kimball Yard on August 25, 1978.

Here, a couple of old CTA "Met" cars are being used as either offices or storage at Kimball Yard in April 1974.

Here, a couple of old CTA “Met” cars are being used as either offices or storage at Kimball Yard in April 1974.

CTA 6643-6644 in the Kimball Yard on February 1, 1987.

CTA 6643-6644 in the Kimball Yard on February 1, 1987.

CTA 4387 and 4432 in the Kimball yard on July 25, 1970.

CTA 4387 and 4432 in the Kimball yard on July 25, 1970.

CTA 6165-6166 at Kimball, the outer terminal on the Ravenswood line (today's Brown Line), on May 21, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6165-6166 at Kimball, the outer terminal on the Ravenswood line (today’s Brown Line), on May 21, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6166-6165, working a westbound trip on CTA's Ravenswood Line, approaches the Kimball and Lawrence terminal on June 20, 1952.

CTA 6166-6165, working a westbound trip on CTA’s Ravenswood Line, approaches the Kimball and Lawrence terminal on June 20, 1952.

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on November 13, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on November 13, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 at Kimball and Lawrence., during an NRHS fantrip on December 13, 1998. During the fantrip, these cars were operated between the terminal and the storage yard, for the benefit of ticket-holders. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 at Kimball and Lawrence., during an NRHS fantrip on December 13, 1998. During the fantrip, these cars were operated between the terminal and the storage yard, for the benefit of ticket-holders. (William Shapotkin Photo)

On December 13, 1998, CTA historic cars 4271-4272 are being operated as part of an NRHS fantrip. At left, 3455-3456 has just arrived as an in-service train, and is about to be moved to the yard. The view looks north, off the south end of track 3. (William Shapotkin Photo)

On December 13, 1998, CTA historic cars 4271-4272 are being operated as part of an NRHS fantrip. At left, 3455-3456 has just arrived as an in-service train, and is about to be moved to the yard. The view looks north, off the south end of track 3. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA gate car (either 280 or 390) at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans' Associaiton fantrip in the 1950s. (Ken Rieger Photo)

CTA gate car (either 280 or 390) at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans’ Associaiton fantrip in the 1950s. (Ken Rieger Photo)

As you can see, the original for this 1950s slide was somewhat washed out and devoid of much color.

As you can see, the original for this 1950s slide was somewhat washed out and devoid of much color.

CTA 2769-2770 at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip on August 29, 1994. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA 2769-2770 at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip on August 29, 1994. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA 6101-6102 at Kimball and Lawrence in March 1993. (John J. Le Beau Photo)

CTA 6101-6102 at Kimball and Lawrence in March 1993. (John J. Le Beau Photo)

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on June 12, 1976. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on June 12, 1976. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

It appears CTA 6138 is at the tail end of a train that is approaching the Ravenswood terminal at Kimball and Lawrence in August 1978.

It appears CTA 6138 is at the tail end of a train that is approaching the Ravenswood terminal at Kimball and Lawrence in August 1978.

CTA articulated 5003 near Kimball and Lawrence on September 9, 1958.

CTA articulated 5003 near Kimball and Lawrence on September 9, 1958.

CTA gate car 270 at Kimball yard on September 13, 1953.

CTA gate car 270 at Kimball yard on September 13, 1953.

There is a difference between the faded-out brown here, and "Traction Orange."

There is a difference between the faded-out brown here, and “Traction Orange.”

CTA wooden "L" cars 361 and 257 in the Kimball Yard on February 4, 1951.

CTA wooden “L” cars 361 and 257 in the Kimball Yard on February 4, 1951.

CTA 6103-6104 are at the head of a 6-car Ravenswood train at Kimball and Lawrence on January 23, 1979. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6103-6104 are at the head of a 6-car Ravenswood train at Kimball and Lawrence on January 23, 1979. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

A CTA single-car Skokie Swift train near Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car Skokie Swift train near Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Flatcar S-300 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-300 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-324 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-324 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-329 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-329 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-1500 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-1500 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

A train of CTA 2000s (on the Lake-Dan Ryan line) are on the Loop "L" on September 13, 1976.

A train of CTA 2000s (on the Lake-Dan Ryan line) are on the Loop “L” on September 13, 1976.

The CTA Randolph and Wells station on September 13, 1976. This station has since been replaced by Washington and Wells.

The CTA Randolph and Wells station on September 13, 1976. This station has since been replaced by Washington and Wells.

I was particularly happy that I could improve this picture, which is practically monochrome.

I was particularly happy that I could improve this picture, which is practically monochrome.

At left, CTA's Tower 18, at the junction of Lake and Wells, on September 13, 1976. The view looks north.

At left, CTA’s Tower 18, at the junction of Lake and Wells, on September 13, 1976. The view looks north.

CTA articulated train at Skokie Shops in August 1986. Here, it has been repainted to its original Chicago Rapid Transit Company livery. Don's Rail Photos: '5001 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1947, #6747. It was renumbered 51 in 1963 and acquired by Fox River Trolley Museum in 1986. It was restored as 5001."

CTA articulated train at Skokie Shops in August 1986. Here, it has been repainted to its original Chicago Rapid Transit Company livery. Don’s Rail Photos: ‘5001 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1947, #6747. It was renumbered 51 in 1963 and acquired by Fox River Trolley Museum in 1986. It was restored as 5001.”

CTA Flatcar S-1501 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-1501 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

A CTA work train, powered by 6000-series "L" cars, including S-406, at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

A CTA work train, powered by 6000-series “L” cars, including S-406, at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

The CTA bridge over the Chicago & North Western, used by the Lake-Dan Ryan line, in September 1977.

The CTA bridge over the Chicago & North Western, used by the Lake-Dan Ryan line, in September 1977.

CTA 4271 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA 4271 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The front trucks of CTA 4271, at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The front trucks of CTA 4271, at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

If you are used to seeing old slides that look this way, you may not realize that much of the original color has faded, or that it is even possible to bring it back now.

If you are used to seeing old slides that look this way, you may not realize that much of the original color has faded, or that it is even possible to bring it back now.

A train of CTA 2200-series "L" cars at Clinton on the Lake branch of the Lake-Dan Ryan line in September 1977. the view looks west.

A train of CTA 2200-series “L” cars at Clinton on the Lake branch of the Lake-Dan Ryan line in September 1977. the view looks west.

A train of CTA 2000-series "L" cars, running on the Lake-Dan Ryan line, approaches the bridge over the Chicago & North Western in September 1977, heading westbound.

A train of CTA 2000-series “L” cars, running on the Lake-Dan Ryan line, approaches the bridge over the Chicago & North Western in September 1977, heading westbound.

Bringing back the color in this shot made this photo into something special.

Bringing back the color in this shot made this photo into something special.

A train of CTA 2000-series "L" cars at Clinton on the Lake Street "L" (today's Green Line) in September 1977.

A train of CTA 2000-series “L” cars at Clinton on the Lake Street “L” (today’s Green Line) in September 1977.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with trolley poles, is running on the Evanston branch near Howard on May 28, 1977. Although overhead wire was no longer being used on Evanston, poles were left on a few such cars to serve as backups on the Skokie Swift if needed.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with trolley poles, is running on the Evanston branch near Howard on May 28, 1977. Although overhead wire was no longer being used on Evanston, poles were left on a few such cars to serve as backups on the Skokie Swift if needed.

CTA Line Car S-606 at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977. Don's Rail Photos: "S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum." With the demise of the ITM site in Noblesville, Indiana in 2018, the 606 was acquired by another group, with the intention of restoring it.

CTA Line Car S-606 at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977. Don’s Rail Photos: “S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum.” With the demise of the ITM site in Noblesville, Indiana in 2018, the 606 was acquired by another group, with the intention of restoring it.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

The east side of Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The east side of Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The CTA junction of Lake and Wells, by Tower 18, on September 13, 1976.

The CTA junction of Lake and Wells, by Tower 18, on September 13, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The CTA Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line) on December 11, 1976.

The CTA Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line) on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single car unit on the Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line), on May 28, 1977.

A CTA single car unit on the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line), on May 28, 1977.

CTA 6000s on the Evanston branch at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977.

CTA 6000s on the Evanston branch at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977.

A CTA 6000-series "L" car at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

A CTA 6000-series “L” car at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

Hoosier Traction 2019

This PDF file explains what’s happening in Indianapolis this September 6-7:

hoosiertractionmeet_2019_05_public

Recent Finds

Steinway Lines Birney car 1660 in September 1937, signed for the H line in Pelham Manor, NY. According to a knowledgable historian: "There's a rather long story behind this. Yes, it's a Steinway car, and yes, it's on the TARS line in Westchester County. (The specific line was the route from New Rochelle to Pelham Manor.) Fontaine Fox, a Pelham native and creator of the "Toonerville Trolley" cartoons, said that he used this line as his original inspiration for the cartoon. So when the line was discontinued in 1937, the locals put on a big celebration at which Fox held forth as honored guest. For the occasion, TARS imported the Birney from Queens as the closest thing to the Toonerville Trolley. (Normal service was TARS convertibles or 700s.) The photo shows the car some time before or after the ceremony."

Steinway Lines Birney car 1660 in September 1937, signed for the H line in Pelham Manor, NY. According to a knowledgable historian: “There’s a rather long story behind this. Yes, it’s a Steinway car, and yes, it’s on the TARS line in Westchester County. (The specific line was the route from New Rochelle to Pelham Manor.) Fontaine Fox, a Pelham native and creator of the “Toonerville Trolley” cartoons, said that he used this line as his original inspiration for the cartoon. So when the line was discontinued in 1937, the locals put on a big celebration at which Fox held forth as honored guest. For the occasion, TARS imported the Birney from Queens as the closest thing to the Toonerville Trolley. (Normal service was TARS convertibles or 700s.) The photo shows the car some time before or after the ceremony.”

Prewar Chicago PCC 7010 is at the western terminal of Route 63 - 63rd Street, located at 63rd Place and Narragansett Avenue. After streetcars were cut back to this loop in 1948 (double-ended cars had previously gone a half mile west to Oak Park Avenue) this became a transfer point for buses heading west. This bus is heading to Argo, which is not the name of a suburb, but the name of a factory in suburban Summit that produced Argo corn starch. If you could see the front of the PCC, there were "tiger stripes," intended to make the cars more visible to motorists and pedestrians. PCCs ran on 63rd Street from 1948-52. (William Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Prewar Chicago PCC 7010 is at the western terminal of Route 63 – 63rd Street, located at 63rd Place and Narragansett Avenue. After streetcars were cut back to this loop in 1948 (double-ended cars had previously gone a half mile west to Oak Park Avenue) this became a transfer point for buses heading west. This bus is heading to Argo, which is not the name of a suburb, but the name of a factory in suburban Summit that produced Argo corn starch. If you could see the front of the PCC, there were “tiger stripes,” intended to make the cars more visible to motorists and pedestrians. PCCs ran on 63rd Street from 1948-52. (William Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Here, we see CTA PCC 7236, a postwar product of the St. Louis Car Company. Jeff Wien: "It is on Western Avenue Avenue during the one man period 1955-56. Because of the grass in the foreground, it seems park-like, which was the case where Western Avenue was paralleled by Western Blvd., which I believe extended from Archer to Garfield. I would guess that the slide is on Western Ave south of Archer." (Wien-Criss Archive)

Here, we see CTA PCC 7236, a postwar product of the St. Louis Car Company. Jeff Wien: “It is on Western Avenue Avenue during the one man period 1955-56. Because of the grass in the foreground, it seems park-like, which was the case where Western Avenue was paralleled by Western Blvd., which I believe extended from Archer to Garfield. I would guess that the slide is on Western Ave south of Archer.” (Wien-Criss Archive)

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) car 18, a double-ended product of St. Louis Car Company that closely resembled a PCC but had conventional running gear, at the end of the line in West Chester. Rail service on this long interurban line was replaced by buses in June 1954.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) car 18, a double-ended product of St. Louis Car Company that closely resembled a PCC but had conventional running gear, at the end of the line in West Chester. Rail service on this long interurban line was replaced by buses in June 1954.

CTA 4355 and it's semi-permanently attached mate (not sure of the #) at Marion Street, on the ground level portion of the Lake Street "L", on September 10, 1957.

CTA 4355 and it’s semi-permanently attached mate (not sure of the #) at Marion Street, on the ground level portion of the Lake Street “L”, on September 10, 1957.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 50 (with 44 at left) at the Wheaton yards on September 13, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 50 (with 44 at left) at the Wheaton yards on September 13, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 428 at the Forest Park loop at DesPlaines Avenue on October 10, 1953. Less than a month earlier, CA&E trains stopped running downtown, and a new terminal arrangement was hurriedly put into use, so riders could switch between CA&E and CTA trains. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 428 at the Forest Park loop at DesPlaines Avenue on October 10, 1953. Less than a month earlier, CA&E trains stopped running downtown, and a new terminal arrangement was hurriedly put into use, so riders could switch between CA&E and CTA trains. (Robert Selle Photo)

A three-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train , including cars 316 and 314, as seen from the Halsted Street platform of the Garfield Park "L". The view looks east on June 18, 1953, about three months before CA%E service was cut back to Forest Park. (Robert Selle Photo)

A three-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train , including cars 316 and 314, as seen from the Halsted Street platform of the Garfield Park “L”. The view looks east on June 18, 1953, about three months before CA%E service was cut back to Forest Park. (Robert Selle Photo)

Someone gave me this slide. I am not sure of the circumstances, but it seems to show Blue Bird Coach Lines bus #1.

Someone gave me this slide. I am not sure of the circumstances, but it seems to show Blue Bird Coach Lines bus #1.

This is an interesting photo for several rasons. It shows the temporary ground-level operation on the Garfield Park "L" in the south portion of Van Buren Street, used from 1953-58 while construction of the new Congress rapid transit line was underway in the nearby expressway. But this is not a regular service train-- it's a fantrip for the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. By the time this photo was taken (circa 1955), wooden "L" cars were no longer in use on this line. The second car has been repainted for use in work service. We are at Van Buren and Ogden. In the distance, you can see the old Paulina "L" crossing Ogden. By this time, it was being used by Douglas Park trains to reach the Lake Street "L", as the Pink Line does today.

This is an interesting photo for several rasons. It shows the temporary ground-level operation on the Garfield Park “L” in the south portion of Van Buren Street, used from 1953-58 while construction of the new Congress rapid transit line was underway in the nearby expressway. But this is not a regular service train– it’s a fantrip for the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. By the time this photo was taken (circa 1955), wooden “L” cars were no longer in use on this line. The second car has been repainted for use in work service. We are at Van Buren and Ogden. In the distance, you can see the old Paulina “L” crossing Ogden. By this time, it was being used by Douglas Park trains to reach the Lake Street “L”, as the Pink Line does today.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban box motor 5 at Wheaton in 1949.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban box motor 5 at Wheaton in 1949.

A single CTA wooden "L" car heads east on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L" circa 1955. This was relocated onto the adjacent Chicago & North Western embankment in 1962.

A single CTA wooden “L” car heads east on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L” circa 1955. This was relocated onto the adjacent Chicago & North Western embankment in 1962.

A mother and her two kids have just gotten off a northbound Evanston train of 4000s at Isabella in January 1972. This station closed on July 16, 1973 and within a short period of time, all traces of it were removed, as it was a short distance from the Linden terminal and had low ridership. That same year, the Evanston branch was converted to third rail operation, and overhead wire was removed.

A mother and her two kids have just gotten off a northbound Evanston train of 4000s at Isabella in January 1972. This station closed on July 16, 1973 and within a short period of time, all traces of it were removed, as it was a short distance from the Linden terminal and had low ridership. That same year, the Evanston branch was converted to third rail operation, and overhead wire was removed.

Recent Correspondence

Andre Kristopans
writes:

In 1935 CSL and CRT began exchanging transfers. In 1936 CMC and CRT transfers followed.Some time soon, exact date unknown to me, CRT and West Towns transfers followed, but these were gone sometime after 1938. Each transfer type was its own color as follows:

CRT to CSL – yellow (actually “newsprint?”)
CRT to CMC – green
CRT to West Towns – pink
CSL to CRT – blue
CMC to CRT – unknown to me
CWT to CRT – unknown – any ideas what they looked like?

In 1943 CSL and CMC transfers began and colors were revised:

CRT – CSL – blue
CRT – CMC – green
CMC – CSL – pink

Around 1947 CMC to CSL and CRT became orange. Once CTA was formed all L transfers became blue, both to CTA durface system and to CMC, while surface to CMC remained green and CMC to CTA surface or L remained orange. In 1953 orange transfers were eliminated as former CMC routes were put on regular surface transfers. L transfers remained blue until about 1962 when they became green.

If anybody has any additional information or can offer any corrections, they would be very welcomed!

Jon Roma writes:

I can offer the attached color image of CNS&M/C&NW Ryan Tower, given your recent feature on the subject along with the statement that there are few shots of the location. This is digitized from a slide by unknown photographer that resides in my collection; it’s obviously a railfan excursion taken on or about March 1962. Please feel free to use if you’d like.

We thank all our contributors!

TRACTION AUDIO, NOW AVAILABLE ON COMPACT DISC:

CDLayout33p85

RRCNSLR
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963

Newly rediscovered and digitized after 60 years, most of these audio recordings of Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban trains are previously unheard, and include on-train recordings, run-bys, and switching. Includes both Electroliners, standard cars, and locomotives. Recorded between 1955 and 1963 on the Skokie Valley Route and Mundelein branch. We are donating $5 from the sale of each disc to Kenneth Gear, who saved these and many other original Railroad Record Club master tapes from oblivion.

Total time – 73:14


Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 3Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 2Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 1Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 2Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 1Tape 2 Mundeline pic 3Tape 2 Mundeline pic 2Tape 2 Mundeline pic 1Tape 1 ElectrolinerTape 1 Electroliner pic 3Tape 1 Electroliner pic 2Notes from tape 4Note from tape 2

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.

Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.

Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)

To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

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

Bibliographic information:

Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages

Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960

Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

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

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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From the Collections of Bill Shapotkin

On August 13, 1971 Chicago Rock Island & Pacific #303 and 125 are backing into Blue Island (Burr Oak) yard. Bill Shapotkin adds, "The train is a ROCK Mainline Suburban train (if it had operated via Beverly, it would be west of the depot (to left)."

On August 13, 1971 Chicago Rock Island & Pacific #303 and 125 are backing into Blue Island (Burr Oak) yard. Bill Shapotkin adds, “The train is a ROCK Mainline Suburban train (if it had operated via Beverly, it would be west of the depot (to left).”

Today, we feature more classic photos of buses, trolleys, and trains, courtesy of Bill Shapotkin, long a friend of this blog. Mr. Shapotkin should be well-known to many of you from his longtime activities as a transit historian, author, and the many informative programs he has given over the years.

Today’s sampling from the Shapotkin Collection includes some rare pictures of Chicago & North Western RDCs (Budd Rail Diesel Cars), which were self-propelled and ran in Chicago area commuter train service for a short period of time in the 1950s. They replaced steam-powered trains and were in turn replaced by the familiar push-pull diesel bi-levels still in use today.

In addition, there are several pictures of Grand Central Station, a Chicago landmark in use between 1890 and 1969, which was torn down in 1971. We have some interesting correspondence, plus some new images of our own.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- We have done our part to make these old images look as good as they possibly can. The C&NW RDC pictures were all shot around 1956 on early Ektachrome film, whose dyes turned out to be unstable and quickly shifted to red. (Technically, the red layer was relatively stable, while the green and blue layers faded.)

It used to be some people thought these sorts of images were only suitable for use as black-and-whites. But with modern technology, it is possible, to some extent, to bring back the original colors. This was easier to do on some than others, but the results look much better than you might expect. If you have ever seen one of these early red Ektachromes, you will know what I mean. Modern films are much more stable and resistant to dye fading.

I would be remiss without mentioning Bill has been involved for many years with the annual Hoosier Traction meet, which takes place in September:

It is that time of year again — the 35th annual gathering of the Hoosier Traction Meet is being held Fri-Sat, Sept 7-8 in Indianapolis, IN. The meet includes two full days of interesting presentations on a variety of subjects, as well as our “Exhibition Room” of vendors — with everything from transfers to track charts available. Book now and you can join us for just $25.00 ($40.00 at the door). We recommend that once you book hotel accommodations as early as possible, as there is an event scheduled at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that same weekend. By calling the number of the Waterfront Inn (where our event is being held), by mentioning that you are with the Hoosier Traction Meet, you should be able to register at our group rate.

For those of you would are unable to attend both days, we have a special “Saturday Only” rate of just $15.00 ($25.00 at the door). As many of our Friday presentations are repeated on Saturday, you will be able to partake of a wide variety of subjects and presenters.

We hope you are able to join us for what many consider to be THE electric railway gathering in the country…see you there!

Thanking you in advance,

Bill Shapotkin

The Milwaukee Road's Elgin terminal in August 1970. Bill Shapotkin adds, "The MILW depot in Elgin was built 1948. It is the second depot constructed at the same site. View looks south from Chicago St."

The Milwaukee Road’s Elgin terminal in August 1970. Bill Shapotkin adds, “The MILW depot in Elgin was built 1948. It is the second depot constructed at the same site. View looks south from Chicago St.”

Chicago & Milwaukee Electric 354, built in 1928 by the St. Louis Car Company, is seen at the Illinois Railway Museum in May 1977. It ran in Milwaukee and Waukegan as a North Shore Line city streetcar.

Chicago & Milwaukee Electric 354, built in 1928 by the St. Louis Car Company, is seen at the Illinois Railway Museum in May 1977. It ran in Milwaukee and Waukegan as a North Shore Line city streetcar.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Peru, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Peru, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

Minneapolis & St. Louis "doodlebug" GE 29, was used as a railway post office (RPO). According to http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/, " Number GE-29 was built in 1931, body by Saint Louis Car Company (c/n 1550), the power plant was 400 horsepower EMC Winton Model 148 gasoline engine (c/n 491) coupled to GE electrical gear. I don't know who is responsible for the boxy structure on the roof but it's likely the cooling system for the prime mover. This unit went by the name 'Montgomery' (painted above the rear truck) and was repowered in August 1950 with a Caterpillar 400 horsepower Model D diesel."

Minneapolis & St. Louis “doodlebug” GE 29, was used as a railway post office (RPO). According to http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/, ” Number GE-29 was built in 1931, body by Saint Louis Car Company (c/n 1550), the power plant was 400 horsepower EMC Winton Model 148 gasoline engine (c/n 491) coupled to GE electrical gear. I don’t know who is responsible for the boxy structure on the roof but it’s likely the cooling system for the prime mover. This unit went by the name ‘Montgomery’ (painted above the rear truck) and was repowered in August 1950 with a Caterpillar 400 horsepower Model D diesel.”

CTA bus 4606 is at the Roosevelt/Monitor Loop in October 1992 (same one used by trackless trolleys a few years earlier). The view looks E-N/E (toward Monitor Avenue). I don't know much about the GM Fishbowl next to it, however.

CTA bus 4606 is at the Roosevelt/Monitor Loop in October 1992 (same one used by trackless trolleys a few years earlier). The view looks E-N/E (toward Monitor Avenue). I don’t know much about the GM Fishbowl next to it, however.

A Milwaukee Road dome car near Union Station in Chicago.

A Milwaukee Road dome car near Union Station in Chicago.

Milwaukee Road equipment in downtown Chicago.

Milwaukee Road equipment in downtown Chicago.

Pace buses in Elgin, June 2003.

Pace buses in Elgin, June 2003.

A westbound NYC passenger train as it approaches LaSalle Street Station in November 1963. At right is the CRI&P's coach yard. The view looks south from the Roosevelt Road bridge. (John Szwajkart Photo)

A westbound NYC passenger train as it approaches LaSalle Street Station in November 1963. At right is the CRI&P’s coach yard. The view looks south from the Roosevelt Road bridge. (John Szwajkart Photo)

Chicago, IL. NYC loco #7300 is seen as it passes the CRI&P coachyard. The view looks south from the Roosevelt Road bridge in November 1963. (John Szwajkart Photo)

Chicago, IL. NYC loco #7300 is seen as it passes the CRI&P coachyard. The view looks south from the Roosevelt Road bridge in November 1963. (John Szwajkart Photo)

Metra Milwaukee District loco 124 is pushing an eastbound train towards Union Station in Chicago. The view looks east from DesPlaines Street. August 1995. (Dan Munson Photo)

Metra Milwaukee District loco 124 is pushing an eastbound train towards Union Station in Chicago. The view looks east from DesPlaines Street. August 1995. (Dan Munson Photo)

Loco 604 leads a northbound (timetable: westbound) Metra/Milwaukee District passenger train out of Union Station in Chicago. The view looks south-southwest off the Lake Street bridge over the south branch of the Chicago River. July 19, 1990. (Dan Munson Photo)

Loco 604 leads a northbound (timetable: westbound) Metra/Milwaukee District passenger train out of Union Station in Chicago. The view looks south-southwest off the Lake Street bridge over the south branch of the Chicago River. July 19, 1990. (Dan Munson Photo)

Control cab 3244 brings up the reat of a westbound Metra/Rock Island train at Joliet Union Station. The view looks west in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

Control cab 3244 brings up the reat of a westbound Metra/Rock Island train at Joliet Union Station. The view looks west in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

Joliet, IL: Loco 163 is seen pushing an eastbound Metra/Rock Island suburban train across the ATSF/IC (ex-ICG, former GM&O, nee C&A) diamonds at Union Station. The view looks south in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

Joliet, IL: Loco 163 is seen pushing an eastbound Metra/Rock Island suburban train across the ATSF/IC (ex-ICG, former GM&O, nee C&A) diamonds at Union Station. The view looks south in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

The imposing clock tower of Grand Central Station, in operation from 1890 to 1969. Located at the southwest corner of Wells and Harrison, it was demolished in 1971. This view looks northwest. (Ron Peisker Photo)

The imposing clock tower of Grand Central Station, in operation from 1890 to 1969. Located at the southwest corner of Wells and Harrison, it was demolished in 1971. This view looks northwest. (Ron Peisker Photo)

The Wells Street side of Grand Central Station in Chicago. The view looks north along Wells Street in the 1960s. (Ron Peisker Photo)

The Wells Street side of Grand Central Station in Chicago. The view looks north along Wells Street in the 1960s. (Ron Peisker Photo)

In the 1960s, and auto is parked on Wells Street in front of Grand Central Station. The view looks to the west-northwest across Wells Street. (Ron Peisker Photo)

In the 1960s, and auto is parked on Wells Street in front of Grand Central Station. The view looks to the west-northwest across Wells Street. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Looking west from the clock tower at Grand Central Station in the 1960s. Through these windows are various railroad offices. The building at left in the background is the CGW freight house. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Looking west from the clock tower at Grand Central Station in the 1960s. Through these windows are various railroad offices. The building at left in the background is the CGW freight house. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Grand Central Station, Chicago is viewed from the west side of Franklin Street from a point north of Harrison Street. The view looks southwest. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Grand Central Station, Chicago is viewed from the west side of Franklin Street from a point north of Harrison Street. The view looks southwest. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Looking north on Holden Court in March 2000, under the South Side "L", we are looking north under the St. Charles Air Line bridge. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Looking north on Holden Court in March 2000, under the South Side “L”, we are looking north under the St. Charles Air Line bridge. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A westbound B&O freight train prepares to cross the IHB at the Illinois/Indiana state line. The view looks east in September 1959. (John Szwajkart Photo)

A westbound B&O freight train prepares to cross the IHB at the Illinois/Indiana state line. The view looks east in September 1959. (John Szwajkart Photo)

This is 91st St Tower in November 1949 -- protecting the PRR/ROCK Xing on the ROCK's Suburban (now Beverly) Branch. The tracks heading off to the upper right are the ROCK. Tracks heading off to the upper left are the PRR.

This is 91st St Tower in November 1949 — protecting the PRR/ROCK Xing on the ROCK’s Suburban (now Beverly) Branch. The tracks heading off to the upper right are the ROCK. Tracks heading off to the upper left are the PRR.

This billboard, advertising SouthShore Freight, is located west of Indianapolis Boulevard north of the Indiana Toll Road in East Chicago, IN. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

This billboard, advertising SouthShore Freight, is located west of Indianapolis Boulevard north of the Indiana Toll Road in East Chicago, IN. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

C&NW cab-coach 152 in Chicago, north of the Clinton Street Tower on August 2, 1978.

C&NW cab-coach 152 in Chicago, north of the Clinton Street Tower on August 2, 1978.

An eastbound C&NW train is passing under the CGW bridge on July 9, 1968. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This photo was taken in Lombard east of Grace St. Today, a Great Western Trail x/o over the UP (C&NW) at the same location. View looks west."

An eastbound C&NW train is passing under the CGW bridge on July 9, 1968. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This photo was taken in Lombard east of Grace St. Today, a Great Western Trail x/o over the UP (C&NW) at the same location. View looks west.”

C&NW cab car 254 at Davis Street in Evanston on July 18, 1976.

C&NW cab car 254 at Davis Street in Evanston on July 18, 1976.

C&NW GP7 is at an unknown location, on a morning train running between Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin in March 1954. Bill Shapotkin: "This location is West Allis, WI just west of Belden Tower (the freight line to Butler is in background). View looks N/E."

C&NW GP7 is at an unknown location, on a morning train running between Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin in March 1954. Bill Shapotkin: “This location is West Allis, WI just west of Belden Tower (the freight line to Butler is in background). View looks N/E.”

C&NW KO Tower in Lake Bluff, IL on May 5, 1977.

C&NW KO Tower in Lake Bluff, IL on May 5, 1977.

C&NW 1653 at Kenmore station, Chicago.

C&NW 1653 at Kenmore station, Chicago.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

C&NW RDC cars in Park Ridge, IL.

C&NW RDC cars in Park Ridge, IL.

C&NW RDC cars southbound departing Kenmore station (Granville Avenue) in Chicago.

C&NW RDC cars southbound departing Kenmore station (Granville Avenue) in Chicago.

C&NW 1531 in Kenmore station, Chicago in May 1956.

C&NW 1531 in Kenmore station, Chicago in May 1956.

C&NW RDC cars, southbound at Kenmore station, Chicago, 1956.

C&NW RDC cars, southbound at Kenmore station, Chicago, 1956.

C&NW RDC cars in Waukegan, IL.

C&NW RDC cars in Waukegan, IL.

C&NW RDC car 9933 just north of Thome Avenue in August 1956.

C&NW RDC car 9933 just north of Thome Avenue in August 1956.

Chicago Surface Lines 6213. Tony Waller adds, "The photo of the red streetcar on route 95 captioned as being at 93rd and Anthony Ave. is actually at 93rd and Exchange Ave. The streetcar line westbound turned from Exchange onto 93rd. Anthony Ave. parallels the PRR/NYC viaducts (and now the Skyway bridge alignment) that is in the near distance; crossing the streetcar line at a perpendicular angle."

Chicago Surface Lines 6213. Tony Waller adds, “The photo of the red streetcar on route 95 captioned as being at 93rd and Anthony Ave. is actually at 93rd and Exchange Ave. The streetcar line westbound turned from Exchange onto 93rd. Anthony Ave. parallels the PRR/NYC viaducts (and now the Skyway bridge alignment) that is in the near distance; crossing the streetcar line at a perpendicular angle.”

CTA 6213 at 95th and State in 1949.

CTA 6213 at 95th and State in 1949.

CSL 6212 on Route 93 near Blackstone, west of Stony Island on August 13, 1947.

CSL 6212 on Route 93 near Blackstone, west of Stony Island on August 13, 1947.

Here, we are looking north (from 31st Street) under the South Side "L" mainline. Note supports at left - that portion of the structure dates back to 1892. The pillars and structure at right was added when a third main (express) track was added. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Here, we are looking north (from 31st Street) under the South Side “L” mainline. Note supports at left – that portion of the structure dates back to 1892. The pillars and structure at right was added when a third main (express) track was added. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound Englewood train approaches 31st Street on the South Side "L" main line. The view looks north from 31st Street. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound Englewood train approaches 31st Street on the South Side “L” main line. The view looks north from 31st Street. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Englewood train has just crossed over 31st Street on the South Side "L" main line. The view looks south across 31st. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Englewood train has just crossed over 31st Street on the South Side “L” main line. The view looks south across 31st. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Englewood train has just crossed over 31st Street on the South Side "L" main line. The view looks south across 31st. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Englewood train has just crossed over 31st Street on the South Side “L” main line. The view looks south across 31st. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Jackson Park train makes its stop at the 35th Street "L" station. The view looks north. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Jackson Park train makes its stop at the 35th Street “L” station. The view looks north. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A westbound Metra train in Blue Island on June 26, 1992. (R. Bullermann Photo)

A westbound Metra train in Blue Island on June 26, 1992. (R. Bullermann Photo)

Metra loco #104 is seen heading a westbound Metra/Milwaukee District suburban train out from Union Station in August 1995. The view looks east from DesPlaines Street. (Dan Munson Photo)

Metra loco #104 is seen heading a westbound Metra/Milwaukee District suburban train out from Union Station in August 1995. The view looks east from DesPlaines Street. (Dan Munson Photo)

A 7900-series CTA bus, working a westbound trip on Route 31 - 31st, is westbound in 31st Street approaching the South Side "L" main line. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A 7900-series CTA bus, working a westbound trip on Route 31 – 31st, is westbound in 31st Street approaching the South Side “L” main line. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A 7900-series CTA bus, working a westbound trip on Route 31 - 31st, is westbound in 31st Street approaching the South Side "L" main line. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A 7900-series CTA bus, working a westbound trip on Route 31 – 31st, is westbound in 31st Street approaching the South Side “L” main line. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, approaching the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, approaching the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, makes a stop before crossing over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, makes a stop before crossing over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, crossing over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, crossing over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, having just crossed over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, having just crossed over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1094, working a westbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is westbound in 103rd Street at Hale Avenue and the Metra Rock Island tracks. View looks northeast. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1094, working a westbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is westbound in 103rd Street at Hale Avenue and the Metra Rock Island tracks. View looks northeast. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1094, working a westbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is westbound in 103rd Street, having just crossed over Hale Avenue and Metra Rock Island tracks. The view looks northwest. June 8, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1094, working a westbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is westbound in 103rd Street, having just crossed over Hale Avenue and Metra Rock Island tracks. The view looks northwest. June 8, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

My Metra title slide... nice, eh? December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

My Metra title slide… nice, eh? December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

A close-up of Metra 126 and its brethren in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

A close-up of Metra 126 and its brethren in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

Recent Site Additions

This picture was added to our recent post The Magic of Jack Bejna (August 4, 2018):

Don's Rail Photos says, (North Shore Line) "213 was built by Cincinnati in March 1920, #2445, as a merchandise despatch car. In 1940 it was rebuilt as a disc harrow ice cutter. It was retired in 1955 and sold to CHF as their 242. It was donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1964." Here, we see the car at the Chicago Hardware Foundry Company in February 1960. This was also then the location of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum.

Don’s Rail Photos says, (North Shore Line) “213 was built by Cincinnati in March 1920, #2445, as a merchandise despatch car. In 1940 it was rebuilt as a disc harrow ice cutter. It was retired in 1955 and sold to CHF as their 242. It was donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1964.” Here, we see the car at the Chicago Hardware Foundry Company in February 1960. This was also then the location of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum.

Chicago Streetcar Tracks Exposed

Exposed streetcar tracks are a rare sight in Chicago nowadays. We recently took some pictures of some on Western Avenue under a viaduct just north of 18th Street, in the northbound lane.

-David Sadowski

While we were in the neighborhood, we took this picture of an inbound CTA Orange Line train on Archer:

Recent Finds

CTA 2029-2030 on the turnaround loop at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in October 1964. We are looking west. Here, you can see the close proximity of the Chicago Great Western tracks to the right. These have since been removed, and the area turned into a bike path connecting with the Illinois Prairie Path at First Avenue in Maywood.

CTA 2029-2030 on the turnaround loop at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in October 1964. We are looking west. Here, you can see the close proximity of the Chicago Great Western tracks to the right. These have since been removed, and the area turned into a bike path connecting with the Illinois Prairie Path at First Avenue in Maywood.

On July 12, 1955 we see Pittsburgh Railways car 4398 at the Drake Loop. It is signed for the Washington interurban, which continued for several miles from here until interurban service was cut back a few years before this picture was taken. Don's Rail Photos adds, "4398 was built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1916." This car was retired in 1956 and has been at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in (fittingly) Washington, PA ever since. Service to the Drake Loop ended in 1999, when the last PCC streetcars were retired. In its last few years, it had operated as a shuttle. You can read more about the final days of the Drake Loop here. (C. Foreman Photo)

On July 12, 1955 we see Pittsburgh Railways car 4398 at the Drake Loop. It is signed for the Washington interurban, which continued for several miles from here until interurban service was cut back a few years before this picture was taken. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “4398 was built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1916.” This car was retired in 1956 and has been at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in (fittingly) Washington, PA ever since. Service to the Drake Loop ended in 1999, when the last PCC streetcars were retired. In its last few years, it had operated as a shuttle. You can read more about the final days of the Drake Loop here. (C. Foreman Photo)

We recently acquired this World War II-era brochure promoting the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban’s services as a way to get around in spite of wartime gasoline rationing and tire shortages:

Here is an article about the new Chicago Subway, from the May 1943 issue of Trains magazine. (For information about our new book Building Chicago’s Subways, see the end of this post).

Recent Correspondence

Mark Batterson
writes:

We recently purchased the Navy Yard Car Barn, built in 1891 by the Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company. It was one of four streetcar barns in DC. We’d like to celebrate the history of streetcars in our buildout of the space. I know you’ve got some amazing images in your collection. Is there a way to purchase some of those? We’re also trying to purchase an old DC streetcar. Thought I’d ask if you know where we might be able to find one?

Thanks so much for your time and consideration.

Thanks for writing.

FYI, there is a web page that lists the current whereabouts (as of 2014) of all surviving DC trolley cars:

http://www.bera.org/cgi-bin/pnaerc-query.pl?sel_allown=DC+Transit&match_target=&Tech=Yes&pagelen=200

After the DC system quit in 1963, some PCC cars were shipped overseas and others were heavily modified for use in the Tandy Subway operation, which no longer exists. The bulk of remaining equipment is in museums.

Unfortunately, there were a few DC streetcars that were preserved at first, but were later destroyed. These include the Silver Sightseer PCC and pre-PCC car 1053.

We can offer prints from some of the images on this site, but not others… only the ones we own the rights to. We specialize in the Chicago area, and as a result, do not have that many DC images. But perhaps some of our readers can point you in the right direction for those. (If anyone reads this and can help, write to me and I can put you in touch with Mr. Batterson.

-David Sadowski

Chicago Rapid Transit Company Door Controls

A picture appeared in our last post The Magic of Jack Bejna that has stirred up some correspondence:

This three-car train of Chicago Transit Authority 4000-series "L" cars is signed as a Howard Street Express in June 1949. (L. L. Bonney Photo) Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, "Methinks this photo was taken looking west at the Indiana Av. (at 40th St.) station. Because the train destination sign says Howard Express, the location has to be on the main north/south line. (Plus, this train had to originate on the Jackson Park branch, because Englewood trains at that time ran to Ravenswood.) Also, I don't recall any other three-track main anywhere else on the north/south line. Also, Indiana Ave. had the overhead walkway to get to and from the Stock Yards L, which terminated to the left of the left-hand platform in the photo. When this photo was taken, the Kenwood L ran as through service from 42nd Place, through Indiana Ave., up to Wilson Ave. Later in 1949, the Kenwood service was cut back to a shuttle ending at Indiana Ave. The inbound station platform was extended over the northernmost track, then mainline north/south service used the middle track heading downtown. A fuller explanation is at https://www.chicago-l.org/operations/lines/kenwood.html . Also of interest is that this photo shows a three-car train. Before the advent of new equipment in 1950 there were no "married pairs" of cars. Trains could be as small as a single car, which I recall seeing on the Englewood branch on Sunday mornings. Plus, the three-car train shown in the photo would have had two conductors whose job was to open the passenger entry doors (which were on the sides, at the ends of the cars) using controls situated between the cars. So conductor #1 operated the doors at the rear of car 1 and the front of car 2. Conductor #2 operated the doors at the rear of car 2 and the front of car 3. Side doors at the front of car 1 and the rear of car 3 were not used by passengers. To operate his side doors, a conductor had to stand between the cars. (Yes, in any weather.) And the conductors had to notify the motorman when to proceed. To do this, the conductors had to observe when there was no more boarding or alighting at their doors. They used a bell system to notify the motorman. Two dings meant "proceed". One ding meant "hold". The rearmost conductor started with his bell, then the next rearmost, etc., until two dings rang in the motorman's compartment, his signal to go. The longer the train, the longer it took to leave the station."

This three-car train of Chicago Transit Authority 4000-series “L” cars is signed as a Howard Street Express in June 1949. (L. L. Bonney Photo) Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, “Methinks this photo was taken looking west at the Indiana Av. (at 40th St.) station.
Because the train destination sign says Howard Express, the location has to be on the main north/south line. (Plus, this train had to originate on the Jackson Park branch, because Englewood trains at that time ran to Ravenswood.) Also, I don’t recall any other three-track main anywhere else on the north/south line. Also, Indiana Ave. had the overhead walkway to get to and from the Stock Yards L, which terminated to the left of the left-hand platform in the photo.
When this photo was taken, the Kenwood L ran as through service from 42nd Place, through Indiana Ave., up to Wilson Ave. Later in 1949, the Kenwood service was cut back to a shuttle ending at Indiana Ave. The inbound station platform was extended over the northernmost track, then mainline north/south service used the middle track heading downtown. A fuller explanation is at
https://www.chicago-l.org/operations/lines/kenwood.html .
Also of interest is that this photo shows a three-car train. Before the advent of new equipment in 1950 there were no “married pairs” of cars. Trains could be as small as a single car, which I recall seeing on the Englewood branch on Sunday mornings.
Plus, the three-car train shown in the photo would have had two conductors whose job was to open the passenger entry doors (which were on the sides, at the ends of the cars) using controls situated between the cars. So conductor #1 operated the doors at the rear of car 1 and the front of car 2. Conductor #2 operated the doors at the rear of car 2 and the front of car 3. Side doors at the front of car 1 and the rear of car 3 were not used by passengers. To operate his side doors, a conductor had to stand between the cars. (Yes, in any weather.)
And the conductors had to notify the motorman when to proceed. To do this, the conductors had to observe when there was no more boarding or alighting at their doors. They used a bell system to notify the motorman. Two dings meant “proceed”. One ding meant “hold”. The rearmost conductor started with his bell, then the next rearmost, etc., until two dings rang in the motorman’s compartment, his signal to go. The longer the train, the longer it took to leave the station.”

Recently, Jim Huffman commented:

Photo #365? 3-car train of CTA 4000s standing at the 38th St station. I differ with your explanation of the conductors door work.
1. When the CTA took over they made all the doors on the 4000s one-man operated, allowing for trains with odd number of cars . Thus, 8-cars, 4-cars, 3-cars, 1-car= only 1-conductor per train.
2. Way prior to that, the CRT used a conductor between each two cars, doing the doors as you described. 8-cars=8-conductors, etc.
3. But later, prior to the CTA, the CRT re-wired (air?) the 4000s so that a conductor between every two cars could operate all the doors on two cars. 8-cars=4-conductors etc.
4. On multi conductor trains, there was only one signal used and that was by the front conductor, not by the other conductors. Nor were there differing sounds or number of bells or buzzers! The front conductor monitored the rear conductors doors, when all were closed, then he would signal the Motorman. There usually was not much of any delay, the reason for less men was to lower labor costs, not to speed up the train.
This is from my memory & further info from conductors back then.

We replied:

You are referring to the explanation of how door controls worked on the 4000s, given by one of our readers (M. E.) in the caption for the photo called proofs365.jpg.

We had previously reproduced a CTA training brochure dated March 1950 in our post Reader Showcase, 12-11-17. By this time, the 4000s had been retrofitted into semi-permanent married pairs, so a three-car train, as shown in the June 1949 picture, no longer would have been possible.

The 1950 training brochure does mention using a buzzer to notify the next train man in one direction.

This is how Graham Garfield’s excellent web site describes the retrofit:

After the CTA ordered the first set of 6000s (6001-6200), they set about retrofitting the 4000s to make them operate more safely, economically and basically more like the forthcoming 6000s. By the time the 6000s started rolling in, the changes had been pretty much completed. In this overhaul, the 4000s were given multiple unit door control, standardized to use battery voltage for control, the trolley feed on Evanston cars was tied together so only one pole per pair was needed, and they were paired up into “semi-permanently coupled pairs” (as opposed to the “married-pairs” of the 6000s), usually in consecutive numerical order. Additionally, the destination signs (which were all still hand-operated) were changed to display either the route names (i.e. “Ravenswood” or “Lake A”) or both terminals (i.e. “Howard – Jackson Park B”) so they wouldn’t have to be changed for the reverse trip. The number of signs per car was reduced from four to two, not counting the destination board on the front. All this allowed a two-man crew to staff a train of any length.

This does not of course explain door operation prior to 1950, and I promised to do further research, by contacting Andre Kristopans.

PS- in addition to this, in a previous comment on this post, Andre Kristopans wrote, “On CRT the conductor was the man between the first and second cars. The rest were Guards. Motorman and conductor worked together all day but guards were assigned according to train length that trip.”

So, I asked Andre to explain. Here’s what he wrote:

Wood cars very simple – man between each two cars as doors were completely local control. End doors of train were not used. Steel cars more complicated. Originally same as woods – man between each two cars. Remember steels and woods were mixed. In 1940’s changed so man could control doors at both ends of cars on either side of him, so conductor between 1and 2, guards between 3 and 4, 5 and 6, 7 and 8 only. Then in 1950’s full trainlined doors. Initially one conductor for 2 or 4 car trains, working between last 2 cars, on 6 or 8 car trains conductor between cars 3 and 4, guard between last two. Guard eliminated late 50’s, conductor in sane (same?) position now controls all doors.

Thanks for the info. On the woods and early 4000s, how did the guards and conductor signal each other?

They had signal bells. First rear guard pulled the cord that rang the gong at forward end of that car. Then that guard pulled the rope by his position to signal the next guard up. When the conductor got the signal and pulled his rope, the gong by the motorman rang and he released and started up.

Yes the 4000’s evolved. Originally basically operationally identical to woods. Circa 1943 before subway, converted from line voltage control to battery control. Now they were no longer able to train with woods. Around same time changed to door control at each end controlling doors at both ends. In 1950’s full mudc, paired with permanent headlights and permanent markers (over a period of a decade or so!). Shore Line’s Baldies book shows how this happened over time if you compare photos. Large door controls early for single door control, small door controls for entire car control, then no door controls on paired sets.

This is something that has not been looked into much, but a 1970’s 4000 was VERY different from a 1930’s 4000!

Our thanks to Andre and everyone else who contributed to this post. Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

Pre-Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There are three subway anniversaries this year 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 will be published on October 1, 2018. Order your copy today, and it will be shipped on or about that date. All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.

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

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

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A Tale of Two Cities

This remarkable picture was taken at the North Shore Line's Milwaukee terminal in January 1963. for all we know, this may be the last night of operation. If so, the temperature was below zero.

This remarkable picture was taken at the North Shore Line’s Milwaukee terminal in January 1963. for all we know, this may be the last night of operation. If so, the temperature was below zero.

Today, we feature color slides taken in Chicago and Philadelphia. Those are the “two cities” in our title, but we also make brief side trips to Los Angeles and Mexico City. Somehow, though A Tale of Four Cities just doesn’t have the same ring.

Come to think of it, some of these pictures were taken in Milwaukee and South Bend, so that’s even more cities.

Chicago’s transit system and Philadelphia’s have shared a few things in common over the years. After the North Shore Line quit in 1963, the two articulated Electroliners (see one in our lead picture) were bought by the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company, better known as the Red Arrow Lines. Rechristened Liberty Liners, they continued in service from 1964 until about 1976.

Dr. Thomas Conway, Jr., who helped modernize the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban in the 1920s, did the same with the Philadelphia & Western, which later became part of Red Arrow.

In the late 1980s, Red Arrow’s successor SEPTA purchased several pairs of used Chicago Transit Authority rapid transit cars (from the 6001-6200 series) to help keep service going, as their existing equipment (Bullets and Strafford cars) was really showing its age.

While the CA&E’s 1953 cutback in service to Forest Park helped speed its demise but a few years later, the P&W Norristown line, which survives today, has never had direct service to downtown Philly.

The CA&E’s 10 curved-sided cars, built in 1945, are often cited as the last “standard” interurbans built in this country. Depending on how you define the word standard, some double-ended cars built for Red Arrow by St. Louis Car Company (they also built the CA&E cars) in 1949 might take the prize instead. These closely resemble PCC cars but don’t qualify as “true” PCCs because they used standard trucks and motors.

The other contenders for last standard interurban are two series built for the Illinois Terminal in the late 1940s. Double-end PCCs were purchased for the St. Louis to Granite City line, and streamliners for longer inter-city use.

For that matter, Pittsburgh Railways used PCC cars (built in the late 1940s) on their interurban lines to Washington and Charleroi. These cars continued in service in Pittsburgh for many years after the last interurban ran in 1953.

Scanning these images was just a starting point. I put in many hours of work in Photoshop to remove imperfections and improve the color. As always, if you have location information you can give us, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

We salute the many fine photographers, whose names are unfortunately not known to us, who took these exceptional pictures. It is important to give credit where credit is due, but in too many cases, when we receive a slide, negative, or print, there isn’t a name associated with it. We wish it were otherwise, but we are grateful that so many fine images have survived the decades in order to be shared with you. Our intentions are always to give these images, and the people who took them, the respect they deserve. When we have such information, we always give proper credit.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- You can see more great night shots in our previous post Night Beat (June 21, 2016).

Chicago Area

South Shore Line car 110 laying over at South Bend, Indiana in July 1963. This was the east end of the line until 1970, when service was cut back to the outskirts of town, and South Bend street running was eliminated. In 1992, service was extended to the South Bend International Airport, 3 miles northwest of downtown South Bend.

South Shore Line car 110 laying over at South Bend, Indiana in July 1963. This was the east end of the line until 1970, when service was cut back to the outskirts of town, and South Bend street running was eliminated. In 1992, service was extended to the South Bend International Airport, 3 miles northwest of downtown South Bend.

Sailors board a North Shore Line train at Great Lakes on June 1, 1962. Car 751 is at rear.

Sailors board a North Shore Line train at Great Lakes on June 1, 1962. Car 751 is at rear.

North Shore Line 731 is at Libertyville on the Mundelein branch. We featured another picture at this location, taken in warmer weather, in Our 150th Post (August 6, 2016).

North Shore Line 731 is at Libertyville on the Mundelein branch. We featured another picture at this location, taken in warmer weather, in Our 150th Post (August 6, 2016).

North Shore Line 723 at the front of a three-car train at an unidentified location. Andre Kristopans: "NSL 723 is on the Evanston L, I would say between Central and Noyes." George Trapp: " I believe the train is Northbound on the Evanston "L" somewhere between the Foster Street and Central Street stations, probably closer to the latter on the last section of the line to be elevated starting in 1928."

North Shore Line 723 at the front of a three-car train at an unidentified location. Andre Kristopans: “NSL 723 is on the Evanston L, I would say between Central and Noyes.” George Trapp: ” I believe the train is Northbound on the Evanston “L” somewhere between the Foster Street and Central Street stations, probably closer to the latter on the last section of the line to be elevated starting in 1928.”

North Shore Line car 773 and train on the Loop "L". The car is signed as a Chicago Express on the Shore Line Route, which was abandoned in July 1955.

North Shore Line car 773 and train on the Loop “L”. The car is signed as a Chicago Express on the Shore Line Route, which was abandoned in July 1955.

We ran another version of this image in a previous post, but this one is better because there is less cropping. A northbound CNS&M Shore Line Route train, headed up by 413, at the downtown Wilmette station in June 1954. The Shore Line was abandoned not much more than one year later. We are looking to the southeast.

We ran another version of this image in a previous post, but this one is better because there is less cropping. A northbound CNS&M Shore Line Route train, headed up by 413, at the downtown Wilmette station in June 1954. The Shore Line was abandoned not much more than one year later. We are looking to the southeast.

An Illinois Central Electric suburban commuter train in 1963. (Fred Byerly Collection)

An Illinois Central Electric suburban commuter train in 1963. (Fred Byerly Collection)

This picture, taken in September 1958, appears to show the back end of a CTA Congress branch train heading east over temporary trackage just east of DesPlaines Avenue, where there was a crossing at grade. Construction work was underway for I290, and the previous June, the new rapid transit line in the Congress expressway median had opened as far west as Cicero Avenue.

This picture, taken in September 1958, appears to show the back end of a CTA Congress branch train heading east over temporary trackage just east of DesPlaines Avenue, where there was a crossing at grade. Construction work was underway for I290, and the previous June, the new rapid transit line in the Congress expressway median had opened as far west as Cicero Avenue.

CTA Pullman-built PCC 4223 on a shoo-fly at Halsted and Congress circa 1952. The Congress expressway was under construction, and the first thing built were the bridges. That is the Garfield Park "L" in the background, which continued to operate until June 1958. The temporary trackage in Van Buren Street was a short distance west of here. We are facing north. Those lines on the car are shadows from nearby telephone wires.

CTA Pullman-built PCC 4223 on a shoo-fly at Halsted and Congress circa 1952. The Congress expressway was under construction, and the first thing built were the bridges. That is the Garfield Park “L” in the background, which continued to operate until June 1958. The temporary trackage in Van Buren Street was a short distance west of here. We are facing north. Those lines on the car are shadows from nearby telephone wires.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s goes up the ramp toward the Laramie station on the Lake Street "L" on July 5, 1960. The portion of the line west of here was relocated onto the nearby Chicao & North Western embankment on October 28, 1962. Earlier that year, power on the ramp was changed from overhead wire to third rail, to facilitate the transition.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s goes up the ramp toward the Laramie station on the Lake Street “L” on July 5, 1960. The portion of the line west of here was relocated onto the nearby Chicao & North Western embankment on October 28, 1962. Earlier that year, power on the ramp was changed from overhead wire to third rail, to facilitate the transition.

CTA Red Pullmans 532 and 153 pass each other on Route 8 - Halsted at Chicago. We are looking north.

CTA Red Pullmans 532 and 153 pass each other on Route 8 – Halsted at Chicago. We are looking north.

A train of CTA 4000s on a fantrip on the Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line). These were last used in regular service in 1973, but this slide is dated March 1975. (Rex K. Nelson Photo)

A train of CTA 4000s on a fantrip on the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line). These were last used in regular service in 1973, but this slide is dated March 1975. (Rex K. Nelson Photo)

CTA prewar PCC 4018 on Cottage Grove at 13th in February 1955. (William C. Janssen Photo)

CTA prewar PCC 4018 on Cottage Grove at 113th in February 1955. (William C. Janssen Photo)

CTA Red Pullman 109 is heading westbound on Blue Island at Western.

CTA Red Pullman 109 is heading westbound on Blue Island at Western.

CA&E 422 at the head of a four-car train.

CA&E 422 at the head of a four-car train.

CA&E 317 and 316 on an Illini Railroad Club fantrip in the 1950s.

CA&E 317 and 316 on an Illini Railroad Club fantrip in the 1950s.

CA&E 432 in winter.

CA&E 432 in winter.

CA&E 317.

CA&E 317.

CA&E 406 at State Road on the Batavia branch.

CA&E 406 at State Road on the Batavia branch.

To me, this looks like CA&E 419 is approaching the Forest Park terminal at DesPlaines Avenue. CTA Garfield Park "L" trains would loop via the wooden flyover at rear. Construction is underway at the station, which make me wonder if this picture was taken around the time of the September 1953 cutback.

To me, this looks like CA&E 419 is approaching the Forest Park terminal at DesPlaines Avenue. CTA Garfield Park “L” trains would loop via the wooden flyover at rear. Construction is underway at the station, which make me wonder if this picture was taken around the time of the September 1953 cutback.

CA&E 454. Methinks this is Bellwood, near 25th Avenue, where the nearby Chicago Great Western had a freight yard.

CA&E 454. Methinks this is Bellwood, near 25th Avenue, where the nearby Chicago Great Western had a freight yard.

CA&E 430 at Batavia Junction in 1957. (Fred Byerly Collection)

CA&E 430 at Batavia Junction in 1957. (Fred Byerly Collection)

CA&E 319 heads up a train of woods.

CA&E 319 heads up a train of woods.

CA&E 316 and 317 have just departed Forest Park and are heading west in the 1950s. CTA Garfield Park "L" cars would loop using the wooden trestle at rear. This is the approximate location of I290 today.

CA&E 316 and 317 have just departed Forest Park and are heading west in the 1950s. CTA Garfield Park “L” cars would loop using the wooden trestle at rear. This is the approximate location of I290 today.

CA&E 406 on a 1950s fantrip, most likely on the Batavia branch.

CA&E 406 on a 1950s fantrip, most likely on the Batavia branch.

CA&E 314 is at the rear of a two-car train that has just crossed the B&OCT tracks just east of DesPlaines Avenue. The station at left would be DesPlaines Avenue, so we are looking to the west. Note the large gas holder that was a local landmark for years.

CA&E 314 is at the rear of a two-car train that has just crossed the B&OCT tracks just east of DesPlaines Avenue. The station at left would be DesPlaines Avenue, so we are looking to the west. Note the large gas holder that was a local landmark for years.

CA&E 402 and train.

CA&E 402 and train.

CA&E 307 at the Wheaton Shops.

CA&E 307 at the Wheaton Shops.

If I had to guess, I would say this picture of a CTA wooden "L" car and CA&E 422 was taken at DesPlaines Avenue, shortly before the September 1953 cutback in service. The old station was on the east side of DesPlaines Avenue.

If I had to guess, I would say this picture of a CTA wooden “L” car and CA&E 422 was taken at DesPlaines Avenue, shortly before the September 1953 cutback in service. The old station was on the east side of DesPlaines Avenue.

A short CA&E freight train, complete with caboose. Some other interurbans did not use cabooses.

A short CA&E freight train, complete with caboose. Some other interurbans did not use cabooses.

CA&E 408 heads up a train that appears to be heading eastbound, possibly just west of DesPlaines Avenue.

CA&E 408 heads up a train that appears to be heading eastbound, possibly just west of DesPlaines Avenue.

CA&E 316 and 317, possibly on the same Illini Railroad Club fantrip shown in a few other pictures in this post. The location may perhaps be the Mt. Carmel branch, which operated on overhead wire instead of third rail.

CA&E 316 and 317, possibly on the same Illini Railroad Club fantrip shown in a few other pictures in this post. The location may perhaps be the Mt. Carmel branch, which operated on overhead wire instead of third rail.

CA&E 460 is at Fifth Avenue in Maywood on March 6, 1958. This was one of a handful of fantrips that were run after passenger service was abandoned on July 3, 1957. The second car may be 417. This was about as far east as trains could go at this point, as the CA&E's suspension of service had facilitated construction of what we now know as I290 near the DesPlaines River. The CA&E tracks were relocated slightly north of where they had crossed the river, and were ready for service again in 1959, but by then the railroad had abandoned all service and no trains were run on the new alignment.

CA&E 460 is at Fifth Avenue in Maywood on March 6, 1958. This was one of a handful of fantrips that were run after passenger service was abandoned on July 3, 1957. The second car may be 417. This was about as far east as trains could go at this point, as the CA&E’s suspension of service had facilitated construction of what we now know as I290 near the DesPlaines River. The CA&E tracks were relocated slightly north of where they had crossed the river, and were ready for service again in 1959, but by then the railroad had abandoned all service and no trains were run on the new alignment.

A CA&E freight train. Tom writes: "The Unknown CAE with the two freight motors is an Eastbound Freight at Berkeley under the I 294 / Eisenhower Expressway . I grew up a block away from there in Elmhurst."

A CA&E freight train. Tom writes: “The Unknown CAE with the two freight motors is an Eastbound Freight at Berkeley under the I 294 / Eisenhower Expressway . I grew up a block away from there in Elmhurst.”

A pair of curved-sided CA&E cars, headed up by 452.

A pair of curved-sided CA&E cars, headed up by 452.

CA&E 452 at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal in Forest Park, where passengers could transfer to eastbound CTA trains from 1953 to 1957.

CA&E 452 at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal in Forest Park, where passengers could transfer to eastbound CTA trains from 1953 to 1957.

CA&E 432 and 459 on the Met "L" just west of the Loop, prior to the September 20, 1953 cutback in service to Forest Park.

CA&E 432 and 459 on the Met “L” just west of the Loop, prior to the September 20, 1953 cutback in service to Forest Park.

This picture may show CA&E 319 and 320 on a December 7, 1958 fantrip. This was the last passenger operation on the railroad. Freight service continued for a few more months before it too was abandoned.

This picture may show CA&E 319 and 320 on a December 7, 1958 fantrip. This was the last passenger operation on the railroad. Freight service continued for a few more months before it too was abandoned.

CA&E electric locos 2001 and 2002 and train.

CA&E electric locos 2001 and 2002 and train.

Looks like CA&E 458 and (I think) 434.

Looks like CA&E 458 and (I think) 434.

A CA&E freight train on the Mt. Carmel branch. I can't quite make out the loco's number (400x).

A CA&E freight train on the Mt. Carmel branch. I can’t quite make out the loco’s number (400x).

Philadelphia Area

SEPTA car 15 picks up a passenger across from the Media Theater (which is showing the film Taxi Driver) in May 1976.

SEPTA car 15 picks up a passenger across from the Media Theater (which is showing the film Taxi Driver) in May 1976.

A close-up of the previous picture. We are facing east.

A close-up of the previous picture. We are facing east.

SEPTA 19 on the Sharon Hill line in May 1976. Kenneth Achtert adds, "SEPTA 19 on the Sharon Hill line is outbound at Drexel Hill Junction."

SEPTA 19 on the Sharon Hill line in May 1976. Kenneth Achtert adds, “SEPTA 19 on the Sharon Hill line is outbound at Drexel Hill Junction.”

SEPTA double-ended car 15, built in 1949, in May 1976. Not sure whether this is the Media or the Sharon Hill line. Kenneth Achtert: "Car 15 is on the Media line at the east end of the Media street-running, crossing Providence Road about to reach Bowling Green station."

SEPTA double-ended car 15, built in 1949, in May 1976. Not sure whether this is the Media or the Sharon Hill line. Kenneth Achtert: “Car 15 is on the Media line at the east end of the Media street-running, crossing Providence Road about to reach Bowling Green station.”

SEPTA 22 near the 69th Street Terminal in May 1976.

SEPTA 22 near the 69th Street Terminal in May 1976.

SEPTA Brilliner 4, signed as an instruction vehicle, in downtown Media in May 1976. These cars continued in service into the early 1980s, when they were replaced by the current fleet of double-ended Kawasaki LRVs.

SEPTA Brilliner 4, signed as an instruction vehicle, in downtown Media in May 1976. These cars continued in service into the early 1980s, when they were replaced by the current fleet of double-ended Kawasaki LRVs.

A SEPTA Bullet car crosses the Schuylkill River in May 1976.

A SEPTA Bullet car crosses the Schuylkill River in May 1976.

SEPTA "Master Unit" 83 (left) and Brilliner 8 meet at Drexel Hill Junction on August 16, 1981. Kenneth Achtert: "The shot of 83 and 8 at Drexel Hill Junction is on a fantrip, with 83 inbound from Media and 8 on the pocket track."

SEPTA “Master Unit” 83 (left) and Brilliner 8 meet at Drexel Hill Junction on August 16, 1981. Kenneth Achtert: “The shot of 83 and 8 at Drexel Hill Junction is on a fantrip, with 83 inbound from Media and 8 on the pocket track.”

SEPTA Strafford car 160 in May 1976. This looks like the Norrsitown Terminal.

SEPTA Strafford car 160 in May 1976. This looks like the Norrsitown Terminal.

One of the Liberty Liners on the Schuylkill River bridge in May 1976.

One of the Liberty Liners on the Schuylkill River bridge in May 1976.

A berthed Liberty Liner in May 1976.

A berthed Liberty Liner in May 1976.

SEPTA Bullet car 7 (207?) in May 1976. Kenneth Achtert adds, "Bullet car 7 in May 1976 is, in fact, #207. The ten bullets were always numbered 200-209, but carried the single last digit on the roof over the ventilation scoop as an aid for the dispatcher located at Bryn Mawr above the track area. (The tracks were in a cut at that location.) The older cars also carried numbers on the roof, but this practice was discontinued on all but the bullets, no doubt since the bullets had no other number visible from the front."

SEPTA Bullet car 7 (207?) in May 1976. Kenneth Achtert adds, “Bullet car 7 in May 1976 is, in fact, #207. The ten bullets were always numbered 200-209, but carried the single last digit on the roof over the ventilation scoop as an aid for the dispatcher located at Bryn Mawr above the track area. (The tracks were in a cut at that location.) The older cars also carried numbers on the roof, but this practice was discontinued on all but the bullets, no doubt since the bullets had no other number visible from the front.”

SEPTA Brill Master Units 82 and 86 in May 1976. This may be the storage tracks near 69th Street Terminal, which are a short vestige of the old West Chester line. Kenneth Achtert: "82 and 86 are indeed on the storage tracks on West Chester Pike west of 69th St. Terminal."

SEPTA Brill Master Units 82 and 86 in May 1976. This may be the storage tracks near 69th Street Terminal, which are a short vestige of the old West Chester line. Kenneth Achtert: “82 and 86 are indeed on the storage tracks on West Chester Pike west of 69th St. Terminal.”

A "railfan seat" view out the front or back window of a Norristown train on the Schuylkill River bridge in May 1976.

A “railfan seat” view out the front or back window of a Norristown train on the Schuylkill River bridge in May 1976.

A Liberty Liner crosses the Schuylkill River on February 16, 1964, about a month after they were put in service on the Norristown line.

A Liberty Liner crosses the Schuylkill River on February 16, 1964, about a month after they were put in service on the Norristown line.

One of the SEPTA Liberty Liners in February 1972. Kenneth Achtert: "The Liberty Liner in February 1972 appears to be southbound leaving Wynnewood Road."

One of the SEPTA Liberty Liners in February 1972. Kenneth Achtert: “The Liberty Liner in February 1972 appears to be southbound leaving Wynnewood Road.”

Red Arrow car 24 at the 69th Street Terminal in August 1960.

Red Arrow car 24 at the 69th Street Terminal in August 1960.

Red Arrow Bullet car 8 on the Norristown High Speed Line. I'm not sure at what point this car was renumbered to 208. This picture may have been taken shortly after the SEPTA takeover in 1970. Kenneth Achtert: "Bullet car 8 was always 208 (see previous), and the picture was definitely after the SEPTA takeover as evidenced by the blue-backed patches for the logos."

Red Arrow Bullet car 8 on the Norristown High Speed Line. I’m not sure at what point this car was renumbered to 208. This picture may have been taken shortly after the SEPTA takeover in 1970. Kenneth Achtert: “Bullet car 8 was always 208 (see previous), and the picture was definitely after the SEPTA takeover as evidenced by the blue-backed patches for the logos.”

The control cab of one of the two Liberty Liners, as it looked in May 1976, near the end of service.

The control cab of one of the two Liberty Liners, as it looked in May 1976, near the end of service.

The interior of a Liberty Liner in May 1976.

The interior of a Liberty Liner in May 1976.

Bullet car 208 (left) and Strafford car 160 (right) in May 1976. I was fortunate to ride both such cars on this line in 1985.

Bullet car 208 (left) and Strafford car 160 (right) in May 1976. I was fortunate to ride both such cars on this line in 1985.

Red Arrow car 13 in downtown Media in May 1976.

Red Arrow car 13 in downtown Media in May 1976.

A SEPTA Bullet car crosses the Schuylkill River in May 1976.

A SEPTA Bullet car crosses the Schuylkill River in May 1976.

Besides the Brilliners and postwar St. Louis cars, older equipment continued in use on Red Arrow into the early 1980s. Here, we see Brill "Master Unit" 80, built in 1932, in SEPTA colors in May 1976 near the 69th Street Terminal.

Besides the Brilliners and postwar St. Louis cars, older equipment continued in use on Red Arrow into the early 1980s. Here, we see Brill “Master Unit” 80, built in 1932, in SEPTA colors in May 1976 near the 69th Street Terminal.

The next two scenes are from medium format transparancies, which were mounted in oversized mounts as seen here. Standard 35mm slide mounts are 2" x 2", and these are 2.75" x 2.75". I don't know if slide projectors were made that could handle these giants. You wouldn't exactly call these "super slides," since that term refers to size 127 or 828 film (which is larger than 35mm) mounted in 2x2 mounts.

The next two scenes are from medium format transparancies, which were mounted in oversized mounts as seen here. Standard 35mm slide mounts are 2″ x 2″, and these are 2.75″ x 2.75″. I don’t know if slide projectors were made that could handle these giants. You wouldn’t exactly call these “super slides,” since that term refers to size 127 or 828 film (which is larger than 35mm) mounted in 2×2 mounts.

SEPTA Brilliner 5 in February 1971. Kenneth Achtert: "Brilliner #5 in the medium format transparency is just past the Naylor’s Run trestle approaching the Congress Ave. stop."

SEPTA Brilliner 5 in February 1971. Kenneth Achtert: “Brilliner #5 in the medium format transparency is just past the Naylor’s Run trestle approaching the Congress Ave. stop.”

SEPTA Brilliners 9 and 3 meet in February 1971. Kenneth Achtert: "Brilliners 9 and 3 are at Lansdowne Ave. (#9 outbound). The teenagers are students from Monsignor Bonner HS (boys) and Archbishop Prendergast HS (girls), out of view to the left. The schools have since been combined."

SEPTA Brilliners 9 and 3 meet in February 1971. Kenneth Achtert: “Brilliners 9 and 3 are at Lansdowne Ave. (#9 outbound). The teenagers are students from Monsignor Bonner HS (boys) and Archbishop Prendergast HS (girls), out of view to the left. The schools have since been combined.”

A close-up of the previous scene.

A close-up of the previous scene.

Angel’s Flight (Los Angeles)

We have posted several pictures of Angel’s Flight before. To find those, type Angel’s Flight in the search window at the top of this page.

The view looking down the Angel's Flight Railway in August 1966. Nearby buildings had already been torn down as part of the redevelopment of this area, which included leveling part of Bunker Hill.

The view looking down the Angel’s Flight Railway in August 1966. Nearby buildings had already been torn down as part of the redevelopment of this area, which included leveling part of Bunker Hill.

A family rides the Angel's Flight funicular in Los Angeles' Bunker Hill neighborhood in May 1969. Service ended later that year, and Angel's Flight was dismantled and put into storage for many years before being reopened a short distance from here.

A family rides the Angel’s Flight funicular in Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill neighborhood in May 1969. Service ended later that year, and Angel’s Flight was dismantled and put into storage for many years before being reopened a short distance from here.

Angel's Flight, May 1969.

Angel’s Flight, May 1969.

Angel's Flight, May 1969.

Angel’s Flight, May 1969.

Angel's Flight, May 1969.

Angel’s Flight, May 1969.

Mexico City

This, and the three pictures that follow, were taken in Mexico City in May 1957, apparently by a pretty good photographer. Mexico's last remaining streetcar line (Tasqueña–Xochimilco) was converted to light rail in 1986. The PCCs were purchased second-hand from North American properties, including Detroit.

This, and the three pictures that follow, were taken in Mexico City in May 1957, apparently by a pretty good photographer. Mexico’s last remaining streetcar line (Tasqueña–Xochimilco) was converted to light rail in 1986. The PCCs were purchased second-hand from North American properties, including Detroit.

2017 Hoosier Traction Meet

Bill Shapotkin writes:

On September 8th-9th, a group of men and women will converge upon Indianapolis, IN for the annual gathering of the Hoosier Traction Meet. Considered by many to be the premier event of its kind, this conference of interested enthusiasts, historians, published authors and rail and transit professions consists of two complete days of audio/visual presentations on the history, operation and technology of electric railway and transit operations throughout the Midwest. In addition to the numerous auditorium events, there is an exhibition of electric rail and transit, where items of interest from transfers and photographs to fare boxes and operating models are for sale.

This year marks the 34th annual Hoosier Traction Meet. Founded by Dr. Howard Blackburn, the Hoosier Traction Meet features, in addition to its auditorium events and exhibition hall, a opportunity for those interested in electric railway and transit to exchange ideas and swap stories with old acquaintances and meet new friends.

Allow me to take this opportunity to cordially invite each and every one of you to this special event — an event which has been the rail and transit highlight of my year for nearly twenty years.

Click here for a Prospectus.

Note that by mailing in your reservation in advance, the admission price is half that paid at the door — now that’s a bargain in anybody’s book! In addition, there are numerous restaurants and shops nearby, allowing plenty of opportunities to and have lunch or supper with your fellow enthusiasts.

Please consider joining us for this year’s event.

Wm Shapotkin
Auditorium Manager
Hoosier Traction Meet

Chicago Trolleys

Work continues on our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys, which is now in the layout and proofreading stage. Lots of work has been done on the text, and the final selection of photos has been made. We will keep you advised as things progress.

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More Hoosier Traction

Gary Railways #17 and #3. The body of a sister car, #19, is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Gary Railways #17 and #3. The body of a sister car, #19, is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

The next Hoosier Traction Meet (see below) will take place in Indianapolis on September 11 and 12, the weekend after Labor Day. We thought it would be a good idea to give that event another plug, and at the same time, this gives us an excuse to some examples of Hoosier traction from days gone by.

We are fortunate to have found some great pictures, including a couple original negatives from some of the earliest fantrips by Central Electric Railfans’ Association on Gary Railways. CERA* is one of the premier railfan organizations, and it is our considered opinion that if you are not already a member, you ought to become one.

In general the Chicago Surface Lines did not operate outside of the City of Chicago, but there was an unusual joint operation, as described by the Chicago Railfan web site:

Service into Indiana was jointly operated with the Hammond Whiting & East Chicago Railway, later Calumet Railways, and finally Chicago & Calumet District Transit Co. Originally, route duplicated Windsor Park route between 63rd St. and Stony Island and 92nd/Commercial. In 1913, route was revised to operate via South Chicago from a new terminal at 63rd St. and South Park (now King Drive), using South Park south of 63rd St. After streetcars were discontinued, Chicago & Calumet District Transit Co. continued to operate replacement bus service, while streetcar service within Illinois was replaced with South Chicago-Ewing route, which evolved into present CTA route 30.

Service into Indiana was discontinued on June 9, 1940. Fortunately, we were able to hunt up a few pictures.

Indiana Railroad car 65 was the first piece of equipment acquired by the Illinois Railway Museum (then called the Illinois Electric Railway Museum). This is a wonderful lightweight, high-speed interurban car and is a joy to ride. It has recently been fitted with reupholstered leather bucket seats.

We tracked down a picture showing sister car 63 from the IR. The only other survivor from that order is car 55, which was turned into Lehigh Valley Transit Company car 1030, now at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine.

Bill Shapotkin: “Gary Railways car 19 at Indiana Harbor (that is the Pennsy’s Indiana Harbor passenger station at right, by the way). taken on March 19, 1939 — the day AFTER the last day of service on the Indiana Harbor (and Hobart) lines. (See CERA Bulletin 137, Pages 229-233, which includes a similar pic to above on Page 230.)”

Gary Railways car 19 crossing the EJ&E near Valparaiso on the very first CERA fantrip, May 1, 1938. Bill Shapotkin: “This is a different vantage point to the one shown on Page 224 of CERA Bulletin 137.” The body of this car is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Chicago Surface Lines #3219, a one-man car built by CSL, as it looked on September 8, 1940. This car had formerly been used on the line to East Chicago, Indiana, which was abandoned three months before this picture was taken. This is also known as a "maximum traction" car because of its trucks. The white stripe on the end indicated it was a one-man car. Bob Lalich says this is "106th and Indianapolis. The car is eastbound."

Chicago Surface Lines #3219, a one-man car built by CSL, as it looked on September 8, 1940. This car had formerly been used on the line to East Chicago, Indiana, which was abandoned three months before this picture was taken. This is also known as a “maximum traction” car because of its trucks. The white stripe on the end indicated it was a one-man car. Bob Lalich says this is “106th and Indianapolis. The car is eastbound.”

Chicago and Calumet District Transit Company #70, the last car to be scrapped. It was built by the St. Louis Car Company. We see it here at the Hammond Barn on September 8, 1940. These lines were abandoned in June 1940.

Chicago and Calumet District Transit Company #70, the last car to be scrapped. It was built by the St. Louis Car Company. We see it here at the Hammond Barn on September 8, 1940. These lines were abandoned in June 1940.

Chicago and Calumet District Transit Company #70 at Hammond in February 1939.

Chicago and Calumet District Transit Company #70 at Hammond in February 1939.

A Chicago and Calumet District transfer.

A Chicago and Calumet District transfer.

Hammond, Whiting and East Chicago car 74.

Hammond, Whiting and East Chicago car 74.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed interurban car 63 at Bluffton in 1936. (C. Edward Hedstrom, Sr. Photo) Car 65, a sister to this one, is preserved in operable condition at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed interurban car 63 at Bluffton in 1936. (C. Edward Hedstrom, Sr. Photo) Car 65, a sister to this one, is preserved in operable condition at the Illinois Railway Museum.

-David Sadowski

PS- We occasionally add photos to old posts. Here are a couple of recent examples:

This photo was added to Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 8-12-2015, since it goes along with the photos of the Chicago, Ottawa and 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.

Somehow we managed to leave this photo out of our recent post A North Shore Line Potpourri, Part Two:

CNS&M 168 heads up a three-car Chicago Local on the Shore Line Route, stopping at Linden Avenue in Wilmette. The date is February 11, 1939.

CNS&M 168 heads up a three-car Chicago Local on the Shore Line Route, stopping at Linden Avenue in Wilmette. The date is February 11, 1939.

It would be interesting to know whether the train is heading north or south. Going north, it would turn west onto street running on Greenleaf Avenue before turning north to run parallel with the Chicago & North Western. Heading south, it would begin running over the Chicago “L” system’s Evanston route. I am sure one of our keen-eyed readers can provide the answer.

Val Ginter writes:

The question on the page had to do with the direction of the train. I haven’t been there in many, many years; however, it looks like the train is northbound, and will turn left–or to our right–onto Greenleaf Avenue, where it will travel in the middle of the street for about three-fourths of a mile, before turning north onto its own right-of-way and the Wilmette station. I miss that whole thing: a big bite out of the Chicagoland apple.

On the other hand, Myron Moyano says:

Relative to the direction of the train at Linden Avenue on the Shore Line Route, take a close look at the angle of the sun and also the destination sign of the lead car. The picture is looking north at a southbound train.

The building at left in the North Shore Line picture is still there, located just north of where the CTA line ends at Linden Avenue. This proves the photographer was indeed looking north and the train was heading southbound.

The building at left in the North Shore Line picture is still there, located just north of where the CTA line ends at Linden Avenue. This proves the photographer was indeed looking north and the train was heading southbound.

So now we have a real difference of opinion. They can’t both be right.


HOOSIER TRACTION 2015

This September, a group of men and women will converge upon Indianapolis, IN for the annual gathering of the Hoosier Traction Meet. Considered by many to be the premier event of its kind, this conference of interested enthusiasts, historians, published authors and rail and transit professions consists of two complete days of audio/visual presentations on the history, operation and technology of electric railway and transit operations throughout the Midwest. In addition to the numerous auditorium events, there is an exhibition of electric rail and transit, where items of interest from transfers and photographs to fare boxes and operating models are for sale.

This year marks the 32nd annual Hoosier Traction Meet. Founded by Dr. Howard Blackburn, the Hoosier Traction Meet features, in addition to its auditorium events and exhibition hall, a opportunity for those interested in electric railway and transit to exchange ideas and swap stories with old acquaintances and meet new friends.

Allow me to take this opportunity to cordially invite each and every one of you to this special event — an event which has been the rail and transit highlight of my year for nearly twenty years. Attached you will find a copy of the Prospectus for this year’s gathering. Note that by mailing in your reservation in advance, the admission price is half that paid at the door — now that’s a bargain in anybody’s book! In addition, there are numerous restaurants and shops nearby, allowing plenty of opportunities to and have lunch or supper with your fellow enthusiasts.

Please consider joining us for this year’s event.

Wm Shapotkin
Auditorium Manager
Hoosier Traction Meet

Mr. Shapotkin is co-author of Faster Than the Limiteds:
The Story of the Chicago – New York Electric Air Line Railroad
and Its Transformation into Gary Railways

Central Electric Railfans’ Association* Bulletin 137

By Dr. Thomas R. Bullard and William M. Shapotkin

Published in 2004 – now out of print

*Trolley Dodger Press is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.


As an added bonus, here is some authentic 1920s jazz, courtesy of Bix Beiderbecke. Although the legendary Bix (1903-1931) hailed from Iowa, he did spend at least one summer blowing his cornet (which is now in the collection of the Chicago History Museum as far as I know) at Hudson Lake in Indiana, and I’m sure he got there via what we now know as the South Shore Line interurban.

Hoosier Traction 2015

hoosiertraction

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is from a guest contributor, long-time friend Bill Shapotkin:

HOOSIER TRACTION 2015

This September, a group of men and women will converge upon Indianapolis, IN for the annual gathering of the Hoosier Traction Meet. Considered by many to be the premier event of its kind, this conference of interested enthusiasts, historians, published authors and rail and transit professions consists of two complete days of audio/visual presentations on the history, operation and technology of electric railway and transit operations throughout the Midwest. In addition to the numerous auditorium events, there is an exhibition of electric rail and transit, where items of interest from transfers and photographs to fare boxes and operating models are for sale.

This year marks the 32nd annual Hoosier Traction Meet. Founded by Dr. Howard Blackburn, the Hoosier Traction Meet features, in addition to its auditorium events and exhibition hall, a opportunity for those interested in electric railway and transit to exchange ideas and swap stories with old acquaintances and meet new friends.

Allow me to take this opportunity to cordially invite each and every one of you to this special event — an event which has been the rail and transit highlight of my year for nearly twenty years. Attached you will find a copy of the Prospectus for this year’s gathering. Note that by mailing in your reservation in advance, the admission price is half that paid at the door — now that’s a bargain in anybody’s book! In addition, there are numerous restaurants and shops nearby, allowing plenty of opportunities to and have lunch or supper with your fellow enthusiasts.

Please consider joining us for this year’s event.

Wm Shapotkin
Auditorium Manager
Hoosier Traction Meet