May Day

CTA prewar PCC 4021, the only survivor of 83 such cars, as it appeared in January 1960, three-and-a-half years after it was retired. The red streetcar behind it is presumably 460. Both cars were saved by the CTA for many years, and are now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

CTA prewar PCC 4021, the only survivor of 83 such cars, as it appeared in January 1960, three-and-a-half years after it was retired. The red streetcar behind it is presumably 460. Both cars were saved by the CTA for many years, and are now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

May Day is a traditional celebration of spring in many cultures. It is also a celebration of workers around the world. In this post, we celebrate transit workers and the people they serve, who are on the front lines of the challenges we face today. Here are some historic transit photos we have collected recently. We hope that you will enjoy them.

-David Sadowski

PS- We will be back with another batch of new finds for our next post, our 250th.

Recent Finds

In August 1957, CTA Met car 2920 approaches the eastern end of the Kenwood "L" branch at 42nd Place. This was one of the only locations along the line that used steel structure. The great majority of trackage was on Chicago Junction Railway embankment. There was a yard at this end of the line that had not been used in many years. Service was abandoned on Kenwood soon after this picture was taken. The photographer was standing on the nearby embankment.

In August 1957, CTA Met car 2920 approaches the eastern end of the Kenwood “L” branch at 42nd Place. This was one of the only locations along the line that used steel structure. The great majority of trackage was on Chicago Junction Railway embankment. There was a yard at this end of the line that had not been used in many years. Service was abandoned on Kenwood soon after this picture was taken. The photographer was standing on the nearby embankment.

By September 1959, the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban line had been completely abandoned. Passenger service ended abruptly in July 1957, and the last freight trains ran in early 1959. Here is what one of the Maywood stations (11th Avenue) looked like while the tracks were still in place.

By September 1959, the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban line had been completely abandoned. Passenger service ended abruptly in July 1957, and the last freight trains ran in early 1959. Here is what one of the Maywood stations (11th Avenue) looked like while the tracks were still in place.

This photo of CA&E 409 and train was taken between 1953 and 1957 at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park. Once the interurban stopped running downtown, due to construction of the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower), trains looped here. CTA trains made a different loop on a wooden elevated structure just to the west of the station. (Steve Hyett Photo)

This photo of CA&E 409 and train was taken between 1953 and 1957 at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park. Once the interurban stopped running downtown, due to construction of the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower), trains looped here. CTA trains made a different loop on a wooden elevated structure just to the west of the station. (Steve Hyett Photo)

CA&E's Batavia Junction in June 1963. Tracks have been removed by this time. We are looking down the Aurora branch, while Batavia trains curved off here to the right.

CA&E’s Batavia Junction in June 1963. Tracks have been removed by this time. We are looking down the Aurora branch, while Batavia trains curved off here to the right.

CA&E 423 at the Wells Street Terminal in December 1951. We are looking north along Franklin.

CA&E 423 at the Wells Street Terminal in December 1951. We are looking north along Franklin.

CTA crane car S-344 at the 61st Street Lower Yard. This was a point of intersection between Chicago's streetcar and elevated systems. Don's Rail Photos adds, "S-344 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910 as Chicago Railways 2. It was renumbered N2 in 1913 and became CSL N2 in 1914. It was rebuilt as X4 in 1946 and rebuilt as S344 in 1958. It was sold to Electric Railway Historical Society in 1963 and donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1973." Our resident South side expert M. E. writes, "Your caption says this yard was an intersection of the streetcar system and the L system. Perhaps, but its main purpose was to be a junction of the railroads and city transit. For instance, the newest equipment would arrive by rail and then be transferred to the streetcar or L system. It would not surprise me to believe that, when the Green Hornet streetcars were being converted to L cars in St. Louis, the transfer to the railroads occurred here, and the opposite happened when the finished L cars were returned to Chicago."

CTA crane car S-344 at the 61st Street Lower Yard. This was a point of intersection between Chicago’s streetcar and elevated systems. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “S-344 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910 as Chicago Railways 2. It was renumbered N2 in 1913 and became CSL N2 in 1914. It was rebuilt as X4 in 1946 and rebuilt as S344 in 1958. It was sold to Electric Railway Historical Society in 1963 and donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1973.” Our resident South side expert M. E. writes, “Your caption says this yard was an intersection of the streetcar system and the L system. Perhaps, but its main purpose was to be a junction of the railroads and city transit. For instance, the newest equipment would arrive by rail and then be transferred to the streetcar or L system. It would not surprise me to believe that, when the Green Hornet streetcars were being converted to L cars in St. Louis, the transfer to the railroads occurred here, and the opposite happened when the finished L cars were returned to Chicago.”

From the looks of it, this shows one of a handful of charter trips on the Chicago Aurora & Elgin that took place in 1958, after passenger service had been abandoned. This trip was sponsored by the Illini Railroad Club, and we are at the Lombard station.

From the looks of it, this shows one of a handful of charter trips on the Chicago Aurora & Elgin that took place in 1958, after passenger service had been abandoned. This trip was sponsored by the Illini Railroad Club, and we are at the Lombard station.

This picture shows the CA&E right of way east of Wheaton on March 14, 1957, less than four months before passenger service was abandoned.

This picture shows the CA&E right of way east of Wheaton on March 14, 1957, less than four months before passenger service was abandoned.

CA&E 422 is "at speed" on the Aurora branch west of Wheaton on March 28, 1957. Given the slow film speed of the time, many photographers pressed the shutter button before moving trains got too close, lest their pictures end up with motion blur.

CA&E 422 is “at speed” on the Aurora branch west of Wheaton on March 28, 1957. Given the slow film speed of the time, many photographers pressed the shutter button before moving trains got too close, lest their pictures end up with motion blur.

Here is what a portion of the CA&E Batavia branch right of way looked like on March 28, 1957.

Here is what a portion of the CA&E Batavia branch right of way looked like on March 28, 1957.

I am not sure of its original location, seen here, but there is a sign just like this at the Illinois Railway Museum now.

I am not sure of its original location, seen here, but there is a sign just like this at the Illinois Railway Museum now.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation (aka Red Arrow) Brilliner #9 on the Ardmore line in July 1959. Buses replaced trolleys here in 1966.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation (aka Red Arrow) Brilliner #9 on the Ardmore line in July 1959. Buses replaced trolleys here in 1966.

This is the Chicago Loop "L" looking west along Lake Street in August 1957. Trains on the Loop ran in a counterclockwise direction. We see trains of 6000s (rear) and 4000s (near). The 6000s are a westbound Douglas Park train, operating at this time via a portion of Lake-- the same path that Pink Line trains take today. It is taking a jog around the old Tower 18, which was replaced in 1969 in conjunction with the through-routing of the Lake and Dan Ryan lines.

This is the Chicago Loop “L” looking west along Lake Street in August 1957. Trains on the Loop ran in a counterclockwise direction. We see trains of 6000s (rear) and 4000s (near). The 6000s are a westbound Douglas Park train, operating at this time via a portion of Lake– the same path that Pink Line trains take today. It is taking a jog around the old Tower 18, which was replaced in 1969 in conjunction with the through-routing of the Lake and Dan Ryan lines.

The first steel cars on the CA&E were built by Pullman in 1923. This picture was taken between that date and 1926, when the Wells Street Terminal was renovated and expanded, with the addition of two more floors to the facade facing Wells Street. The terminal continued in use until 1953.

The first steel cars on the CA&E were built by Pullman in 1923. This picture was taken between that date and 1926, when the Wells Street Terminal was renovated and expanded, with the addition of two more floors to the facade facing Wells Street. The terminal continued in use until 1953.

CA&E 401 on Broadway and Downer Place in downtown Aurora in the late 1920s.

CA&E 401 on Broadway and Downer Place in downtown Aurora in the late 1920s.

The same location today.

The same location today.

The date on the back of this photo is April 1, 1953, although the date in the caption is March 23, which was a Monday. I am not sure just which station this was near, along the ground-level portion of the CTA Ravenswood (now Brown Line) "L". This train was only going as far as Fullerton, which suggests this accident may have happened at night, at a time when Ravenswood trains did not go all the way to the Loop. (The turnback point for this was later moved to Belmont.)

The date on the back of this photo is April 1, 1953, although the date in the caption is March 23, which was a Monday. I am not sure just which station this was near, along the ground-level portion of the CTA Ravenswood (now Brown Line) “L”. This train was only going as far as Fullerton, which suggests this accident may have happened at night, at a time when Ravenswood trains did not go all the way to the Loop. (The turnback point for this was later moved to Belmont.)

From the Wikipedia: "The Chicago, Aurora and DeKalb Railroad was a 29-mile (47 km) interurban line which operated from 1906 to 1923 and connected the cities of Aurora and DeKalb, Illinois. The line made connections in Aurora with the Aurora, Elgin and Fox River Electric Company, the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin Railroad, and the Aurora, Plainfield and Joliet Railway. Entry into Aurora was made via streetcar trackage of the Aurora, Elgin and Fox River Electric. Over the course of its history, the railroad used internal combustion, steam, and finally electric traction as motive power."

From the Wikipedia: “The Chicago, Aurora and DeKalb Railroad was a 29-mile (47 km) interurban line which operated from 1906 to 1923 and connected the cities of Aurora and DeKalb, Illinois. The line made connections in Aurora with the Aurora, Elgin and Fox River Electric Company, the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin Railroad, and the Aurora, Plainfield and Joliet Railway. Entry into Aurora was made via streetcar trackage of the Aurora, Elgin and Fox River Electric. Over the course of its history, the railroad used internal combustion, steam, and finally electric traction as motive power.”

CA&E postwar cars 453 and 451, two of an order of ten, at the Wheaton Yards.

CA&E postwar cars 453 and 451, two of an order of ten, at the Wheaton Yards.

Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee train #410 at Green Bay Junction, led by car 773, in 1953. Zach E. adds, "The lead car is not 773, but one of the 3 “Cincinnati Buckets”, 720, 726, or 730."

Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee train #410 at Green Bay Junction, led by car 773, in 1953. Zach E. adds, “The lead car is not 773, but one of the 3 “Cincinnati Buckets”, 720, 726, or 730.”

NSL car 717 heads up a two car train on the Skokie Valley Route. (Photo by S. K. Bolton, Jr.)

NSL car 717 heads up a two car train on the Skokie Valley Route. (Photo by S. K. Bolton, Jr.)

Three North Shore Line cars, including 161. (S. K. Bolton, Jr. Photo)

Three North Shore Line cars, including 161. (S. K. Bolton, Jr. Photo)

North Shore Line car 712.

North Shore Line car 712.

This looks like an Illinois Terminal car, but that is all the information I have about it.

This looks like an Illinois Terminal car, but that is all the information I have about it.

CA&E 316. (Malcolm D. McCarter Photo)

CA&E 316. (Malcolm D. McCarter Photo)

CA&E car 417, built by Pullman in 1923.

CA&E car 417, built by Pullman in 1923.

CA&E 400.

CA&E 400.

I have no info on this photo, but if I had to guess, I would say these are North Shore Line wood cars, of the type that were eventually sold to the CA&E in 1946.

I have no info on this photo, but if I had to guess, I would say these are North Shore Line wood cars, of the type that were eventually sold to the CA&E in 1946.

CA&E 451. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CA&E 451. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

Between 1939 and 1942, the North Shore Line let the fledgling Central Electric Railfans' Association use one of their old wooden cars (#300) as a club car, for meetings and excursions. The date on the back of this photo is April 11, 1943, but I don't think any fantrips were taking place on the Chicago interurbans at that time, as there was a war going on.

Between 1939 and 1942, the North Shore Line let the fledgling Central Electric Railfans’ Association use one of their old wooden cars (#300) as a club car, for meetings and excursions. The date on the back of this photo is April 11, 1943, but I don’t think any fantrips were taking place on the Chicago interurbans at that time, as there was a war going on.

CA&E 321 at Laramie Yards in Chicago. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CA&E 321 at Laramie Yards in Chicago. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

The back of the preceding photo, hand inscribed by Edward Frank, Jr.

The back of the preceding photo, hand inscribed by Edward Frank, Jr.

The Logan Square Terminal of the Metropolitan "L", in a photo postcard postmarked 1908. The iconic Illinois Centennial Monument was not erected until ten years later.

The Logan Square Terminal of the Metropolitan “L”, in a photo postcard postmarked 1908. The iconic Illinois Centennial Monument was not erected until ten years later.

A Met "L" conductor, possibly circa 1910. Notice how the stool he is sitting on has been repaired using some twine. This may possibly have been taken at Logan Square.

A Met “L” conductor, possibly circa 1910. Notice how the stool he is sitting on has been repaired using some twine. This may possibly have been taken at Logan Square.

A pair of CTA 4000s at Marion Street in Oak Park, along the old ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L", in May 1958. We are looking west. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

A pair of CTA 4000s at Marion Street in Oak Park, along the old ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L”, in May 1958. We are looking west. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA PCC 7225, signed for Route 36 -Broadway-State, and red car 690, probably in 1954. But which station (car barn) is this? (J. W. Vigrass Photo) Our resident South side expert M. E. adds, "My guess is the Vincennes/77th barn. Reason #1: All the trackage. It was a very wide barn. Reason #2: The PCC car's destination sign reads State-84. There was a turnaround loop at 84th and State, a little more than a mile from this barn. By the way, the words on the roof line of the barn read "Chicago Surface Lines"."

CTA PCC 7225, signed for Route 36 -Broadway-State, and red car 690, probably in 1954. But which station (car barn) is this? (J. W. Vigrass Photo) Our resident South side expert M. E. adds, “My guess is the Vincennes/77th barn. Reason #1: All the trackage. It was a very wide barn. Reason #2: The PCC car’s destination sign reads State-84. There was a turnaround loop at 84th and State, a little more than a mile from this barn. By the way, the words on the roof line of the barn read “Chicago Surface Lines”.”

CTA red cars on the scrap line in 1954. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA red cars on the scrap line in 1954. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA salt car AA59 in 1954. Don's Rail Photos: "AA59, salt car, was built by St Louis Car Co in 1903 as CUTCo 4837. It was renumbered 1308 in 1913 and became CSL 1308 in 1914. It was rebuilt as (a) salt car in January 1934 and renumbered AA59 on April 15, 1948. It was retired on September 27, 1956." (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA salt car AA59 in 1954. Don’s Rail Photos: “AA59, salt car, was built by St Louis Car Co in 1903 as CUTCo 4837. It was renumbered 1308 in 1913 and became CSL 1308 in 1914. It was rebuilt as (a) salt car in January 1934 and renumbered AA59 on April 15, 1948. It was retired on September 27, 1956.” (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

I am not sure what number CTA car this is, in this 1954 photo, or why it is painted green instead of red. (J. W. Vigrass Photo) Steve D. adds, "Alan R. Lind scribed the last survivor of the 2501-2625 series, which is what this car is, was 2605. It was sent to Devon Station 1948, and scrapped 1954. Somewhere during this span, it somehow got a Mercury Green paint job. But I am certain this is the unknown car." Don Ross notes, "2605 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1901. It was stored at Devon Barn in 1948 and scrapped there in 1954."

I am not sure what number CTA car this is, in this 1954 photo, or why it is painted green instead of red. (J. W. Vigrass Photo) Steve D. adds, “Alan R. Lind scribed the last survivor of the 2501-2625 series, which is what this car is, was 2605. It was sent to Devon Station 1948, and scrapped 1954. Somewhere during this span, it somehow got a Mercury Green paint job. But I am certain this is the unknown car.” Don Ross notes, “2605 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1901. It was stored at Devon Barn in 1948 and scrapped there in 1954.”

CTA 144 at 77th and Vincennes on May 25, 1958. The occasion was the final streetcar fantrip in Chicago, less than a month before the last line (Wentworth) was converted to buses. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA 144 at 77th and Vincennes on May 25, 1958. The occasion was the final streetcar fantrip in Chicago, less than a month before the last line (Wentworth) was converted to buses. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

The Lake Street "L" near Cicero Avenue in May 1958. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

The Lake Street “L” near Cicero Avenue in May 1958. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

A two-car CTA traiin of 6000s is running on temporary trackage in Van Buren Street in May 1958. The following month, the Garfield Park line was replaced with the new Congress rapid transit line. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

A two-car CTA traiin of 6000s is running on temporary trackage in Van Buren Street in May 1958. The following month, the Garfield Park line was replaced with the new Congress rapid transit line. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

The CTA's Loomis Junction in September 1958, looking west. Here is where Douglas Park trains went up a ramp to connect to the existing "L" structure, while Congress trains continued to the right. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

The CTA’s Loomis Junction in September 1958, looking west. Here is where Douglas Park trains went up a ramp to connect to the existing “L” structure, while Congress trains continued to the right. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

A downtown photo stop on the May 25, 1958 streetcar fantrip. These later trips were held on weekends, since in these years, the CTA substituted buses for streetcars on some of the remaining lines. So, the fans could have all the photo stops they wanted. It was also typical to pair one of the older red cars with a PCC. On this trip, the 144 was paired with car 4384. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

A downtown photo stop on the May 25, 1958 streetcar fantrip. These later trips were held on weekends, since in these years, the CTA substituted buses for streetcars on some of the remaining lines. So, the fans could have all the photo stops they wanted. It was also typical to pair one of the older red cars with a PCC. On this trip, the 144 was paired with car 4384. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

Another picture of the final CTA streetcar fantrip on May 25, 1958. Red car 144 (now at the Illinois Railway Museum) is somewhere along the Wentworth line on Chicago's south side. (J. W. Vigrass Photo) Our resident South Side expert M. E. adds, ""Somewhere on the Wentworth line" has to be along Vincennes between 81st and 73rd, and most likely between the 77th St. barn and 73rd. (At 73rd, the car line curved north onto Wentworth.) The street width of Vincennes was noticeably wider than the width of Wentworth." The sequence of shots taken by the photographer would suggest the car is northbound. There is the Hamilton Park Laundry (7416 S. Vincennes) at the left of the picture. Hamilton Park is located just a few blocks west of Vincennes, between 74th and 72nd.

Another picture of the final CTA streetcar fantrip on May 25, 1958. Red car 144 (now at the Illinois Railway Museum) is somewhere along the Wentworth line on Chicago’s south side. (J. W. Vigrass Photo) Our resident South Side expert M. E. adds, “”Somewhere on the Wentworth line” has to be along Vincennes between 81st and 73rd, and most likely between the 77th St. barn and 73rd. (At 73rd, the car line curved north onto Wentworth.) The street width of Vincennes was noticeably wider than the width of Wentworth.” The sequence of shots taken by the photographer would suggest the car is northbound. There is the Hamilton Park Laundry (7416 S. Vincennes) at the left of the picture. Hamilton Park is located just a few blocks west of Vincennes, between 74th and 72nd.

The same location today.

The same location today.

A CTA work car in 1954. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

A CTA work car in 1954. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA work car W-4 in 1954. Don's Rail Photos: "W4, work car. was built by Chicago Rys in 1908 as CRy 53. It was renumbered W4 in 1913 and became CSL W4 in 1914. It was retired on May 17, 1958." (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA work car W-4 in 1954. Don’s Rail Photos: “W4, work car. was built by Chicago Rys in 1908 as CRy 53. It was renumbered W4 in 1913 and became CSL W4 in 1914. It was retired on May 17, 1958.” (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA red cars (and one that was repainted green) on the scrap line in 1954. Visible in this photo, from left to right, are 3141, 3179, and 3151. Sister car 3142 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA red cars (and one that was repainted green) on the scrap line in 1954. Visible in this photo, from left to right, are 3141, 3179, and 3151. Sister car 3142 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA red car 417 in February 1954. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA red car 417 in February 1954. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

The view from an eastbound Douglas-Milwaukee CTA "L" train, going down the ramp at Loomis Junction to run on the then-new Congress median line, in September 1958. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

The view from an eastbound Douglas-Milwaukee CTA “L” train, going down the ramp at Loomis Junction to run on the then-new Congress median line, in September 1958. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

Another photo from the May 25, 1958 CTA fantrip featuring red car 144. (J. W. Vigrass Photo) Our resident South Side expert M. E. adds, "Methinks this is at 81st and Halsted, the south end of the Wentworth line. The only way to reverse direction was to make a wye -- to turn from westbound on 81st to northbound on Halsted, then to run backwards (southbound on Halsted) across 81st St., and finally to turn from facing north on Halsted onto eastbound 81st. I think thus because there is only one trolley wire crossing the intersection, and I see only one track. This would place car 144 north of 81st St., going backwards to the south side of 81st."

Another photo from the May 25, 1958 CTA fantrip featuring red car 144. (J. W. Vigrass Photo) Our resident South Side expert M. E. adds, “Methinks this is at 81st and Halsted, the south end of the Wentworth line. The only way to reverse direction was to make a wye — to turn from westbound on 81st to northbound on Halsted, then to run backwards (southbound on Halsted) across 81st St., and finally to turn from facing north on Halsted onto eastbound 81st. I think thus because there is only one trolley wire crossing the intersection, and I see only one track. This would place car 144 north of 81st St., going backwards to the south side of 81st.”

A two car Evanston Express train, including car 45, at State and Lake. Cars in the 1-50 series were delivered in 1960, so this photo cannot be any earlier than that. We are looking west. The date may be June 1961. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

A two car Evanston Express train, including car 45, at State and Lake. Cars in the 1-50 series were delivered in 1960, so this photo cannot be any earlier than that. We are looking west. The date may be June 1961. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

In June 1961, photographer J. W. Vigrass captured this shot of a southbound Howard train at right, with a North Shore Line Electroliner heading north at left, and a northbound Howard train at center. Overhead wire is visible on the fourth track, for use by freight trains that were operated by the CTA until 1973. Southbound North Shore trains also used this power source at times.

In June 1961, photographer J. W. Vigrass captured this shot of a southbound Howard train at right, with a North Shore Line Electroliner heading north at left, and a northbound Howard train at center. Overhead wire is visible on the fourth track, for use by freight trains that were operated by the CTA until 1973. Southbound North Shore trains also used this power source at times.

A close-up of the previous picture.

A close-up of the previous picture.

CTA 6101-6102 heading up a four-car fantrip train in November 1985, for "Trolleyfest." After being stored at the Fox River Trolley Museum for many years, 6101-6102 are back on CTA property, and it is hoped they will someday run again. (Gregory Markey Photo)

CTA 6101-6102 heading up a four-car fantrip train in November 1985, for “Trolleyfest.” After being stored at the Fox River Trolley Museum for many years, 6101-6102 are back on CTA property, and it is hoped they will someday run again. (Gregory Markey Photo)

A northbound North Shore Line train at Howard Street.

A northbound North Shore Line train at Howard Street.

The same Trolleyfest fantrip train seen in a previous picture, with one of the four sets of articulated 51-54 cars coupled to it (formerly 5001-5004), is on the Paulina Connector in November 1985. At the time, this was a single track connection between parts of the rapid transit system, used only for shop moves. Now, this has been renovated and is part of the Pink Line route. The old Chicago Stadium, home of the Bulls and Blackhawks, is at rear. It has since been demolished and replaced by the United Center.

The same Trolleyfest fantrip train seen in a previous picture, with one of the four sets of articulated 51-54 cars coupled to it (formerly 5001-5004), is on the Paulina Connector in November 1985. At the time, this was a single track connection between parts of the rapid transit system, used only for shop moves. Now, this has been renovated and is part of the Pink Line route. The old Chicago Stadium, home of the Bulls and Blackhawks, is at rear. It has since been demolished and replaced by the United Center.

This photo was unfortunately partially light struck. This was not an uncommon occurrence when paper-backed roll film was used. Once again, this is North shore Line wooden car 300, some time during the 1939-42 period when it was used by Central Electric Railfans' Association as a club car, for excursions and meetings. From the looks of things, this is winter.

This photo was unfortunately partially light struck. This was not an uncommon occurrence when paper-backed roll film was used. Once again, this is North shore Line wooden car 300, some time during the 1939-42 period when it was used by Central Electric Railfans’ Association as a club car, for excursions and meetings. From the looks of things, this is winter.

A close-up of the previous picture. I believe the gentleman at center is a young George Krambles, CERA Member #1, then in his early 20s.

A close-up of the previous picture. I believe the gentleman at center is a young George Krambles, CERA Member #1, then in his early 20s.

Recent Correspondence

Carl Oberfranc writes:

I’ve just completed my 4th or 5th view of every posting from January 2015 forward, and I can’t thank you and your contributors enough for sharing these wonderful memories of Chicago-area transportation. I fond myself spending as much time focusing on the street scenes of cars, stores, etc. as I do the primary subject matter. Wonderful memories of what Chicago and surrounding areas looked like in my lifetime (starting in the mid-‘50s), and the world of my parents’ lifetimes.

I grew up in Glen Ellyn, so I have a special fondness for the Sunset Lines. I have very early memories of the tracks still being in place just before removal. In the late 60s, a friend and I would spend many days hiking the mostly undeveloped Prairie Path all the way to Elmhurst, or along the Elgin and Aurora branches. Spent many hours climbing on the bridge over the C&NW in Wheaton (the old ties were the only flooring at that time) and watching the freight trains pass below.

I was born in Oak Park, and spent nearly every Saturday there visiting Grandparents and other relatives in the 1960s. One location was on South Grove Ave., just a few doors south of South Blvd. I remember walking over to the Lake St. L crossing shack at Kenilworth with some other kids and talking with the CTA gate attendant. This was probably no more than a few months before the line was relocated to the C&NW embankment. The pictures of the Forest Park gas holder and the old concrete grain silos are bring back a lot of wonderful memories.

I wanted share scans of some CA&E photos I purchased in the early days of eBay (apologies for the quality). I can’t remember the seller at this point, nor can I be sure who the original photographer would be, but many of them have stamped info on the back that says, “Charles A. Brown, Wilkinsonville, MA.” Hopefully this rings a bell with one of your readers.

I don’t think any of these duplicate what you’ve already posted to your site. In fact, the only CA&E corresponding car I’ve noticed is the color photo of #30 from your January, 2019 post. Compare/contrast with my B&W image that shows previous damage to the bottom of the vertical wood slats.

Thanks again to you and your contributors for a great site!

Glad that you like the site, and thanks very much for sharing these great photos with our readers.

CA&E 10.

CA&E 10.

CA&E 30.

CA&E 30.

CA&E 302 in Wheaton, 1940.

CA&E 302 in Wheaton, 1940.

CA&E 312.

CA&E 312.

CA&E 318 on an early fantrip.

CA&E 318 on an early fantrip.

CA&E 318.

CA&E 318.

CA&E 459.

CA&E 459.

A CA&E Chicago Express in Berkeley.

A CA&E Chicago Express in Berkeley.

Ron Geppert writes:

I ran across the following original check which I acquired during my TT collecting days and wonder if you would appreciate having it or maybe just the jpg is adequate for your use.

I am sure our readers will appreciate seeing this. Thanks for sharing it.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

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

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

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


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

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

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



The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago in November 2018, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway. Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.
Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

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

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

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

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

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Ones That Got Away

A CTA Stock Yards shuttle car in September 1957, just prior to the abandonment of this branch line. Service withered away as the Stock Yards did. Both are long gone. A portion of this line used a single track, one-way loop.

A CTA Stock Yards shuttle car in September 1957, just prior to the abandonment of this branch line. Service withered away as the Stock Yards did. Both are long gone. A portion of this line used a single track, one-way loop.

We are back, after working 16 straight days as an election judge here in suburban Cook County, Illinois, just in time to shelter in place during a quarantine. We apologize for the length of time since our last post, but as always, much work has been going on behind the scenes.

We are happy to report that we have a new book project that we are very excited about. More details will be forthcoming in the future, but we are hard at work already and have been for some time.

We have to compete with everyone else when purchasing traction photos, and our finances do not permit us the luxury of winning all the auctions that interest us (and could interest you). For every excellent photo we win, there are many others that slip through our fingers.

We have collected some of these here, and present them for your consideration, along with some explanations of why our luck and finances fell short. It’s always possible that the winning bidders may choose to share some of these fine images with our readers in the future.

Prices on individual images may run as high, in some cases, as $100 for a single 35mm Red Border Kodachrome slide, depending on its quality, subject matter, and rarity.

In future posts, we will go back to showing more photos that we did actually win.

Stay safe.

-David Sadowski

This, and the next seven pictures that follow, were part of a very interesting and unusual auction that we were outbid on. There was a fad in the 1950s for 3-D movies and photos, and these pictures were shot in stereo, probably using a camera called a Stereo Realist, which would shoot two half-frame 35mm images, each offset by approximately the same distance as your eyes. When mounted in a special mount, and viewed with the proper viewer, the result was, lo and behold, 3-D pictures of the CA&E and CTA in mid-1950s Forest Park! This view looks east.

This, and the next seven pictures that follow, were part of a very interesting and unusual auction that we were outbid on. There was a fad in the 1950s for 3-D movies and photos, and these pictures were shot in stereo, probably using a camera called a Stereo Realist, which would shoot two half-frame 35mm images, each offset by approximately the same distance as your eyes. When mounted in a special mount, and viewed with the proper viewer, the result was, lo and behold, 3-D pictures of the CA&E and CTA in mid-1950s Forest Park! This view looks east.

Click this link for a complete rundown on Stereo Realist cameras.

A two-car CA&E train (460 and 421) loops in Forest Park. The 460 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union.

A two-car CA&E train (460 and 421) loops in Forest Park. The 460 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union.

The train seen in a previous picture approaches the terminal. During construction of the nearby expressway in the late 1950s, there were temporary tracks just to the right, and the stores on Des Plaines Avenue were demolished.

The train seen in a previous picture approaches the terminal. During construction of the nearby expressway in the late 1950s, there were temporary tracks just to the right, and the stores on Des Plaines Avenue were demolished.

From 1953 to 1957, passengers could change trains here between the CA&E and CTA. The gas holder shown was a long-time Forest Park landmark.

From 1953 to 1957, passengers could change trains here between the CA&E and CTA. The gas holder shown was a long-time Forest Park landmark.

A CTA wooden Met car on the temporary Van Buren Street right of way, circa early 1954 would be my guess. Note that a Garfield Park line bridge has not yet been dismantled at right, in the middle of the Congress Expressway construction site.

A CTA wooden Met car on the temporary Van Buren Street right of way, circa early 1954 would be my guess. Note that a Garfield Park line bridge has not yet been dismantled at right, in the middle of the Congress Expressway construction site.

The CA&E train loops around, in close proximity to a bus, which presumably would either be CTA's Route 17, going to Bellwood and Westchester (it replaced the Westchester branch of the "L" in 1951) or one of the various Chicago & West Towns routes.

The CA&E train loops around, in close proximity to a bus, which presumably would either be CTA’s Route 17, going to Bellwood and Westchester (it replaced the Westchester branch of the “L” in 1951) or one of the various Chicago & West Towns routes.

The CA&E train has looped and is now ready to pick up passengers for the trip west.

The CA&E train has looped and is now ready to pick up passengers for the trip west.

What are these strange looking freight cars on the Chicago Great Western, just north of the CTA tracks at DesPlaines Avenue? Thomas Kaufman: "That photo in the ones that got away showing a train on the Chicago Great Western appears to be some Maintenance of Way bunk cars used to hold sleeping quarters for the employees. Another giveaway is the orange paint as M of Way cars are generally painted different colors than the standard freight equipment." Andre Kristopans thinks some of those cars could date to the 1880s.

What are these strange looking freight cars on the Chicago Great Western, just north of the CTA tracks at DesPlaines Avenue? Thomas Kaufman: “That photo in the ones that got away showing a train on the Chicago Great Western appears to be some Maintenance of Way bunk cars used to hold sleeping quarters for the employees. Another giveaway is the orange paint as M of Way cars are generally painted different colors than the standard freight equipment.” Andre Kristopans thinks some of those cars could date to the 1880s.

A two-car CTA train of flat-door 6000s is running on the Logan Square route. This may be California Avenue. However, why is there a bag over the coupler? This picture was probably taken in the 1950s.

A two-car CTA train of flat-door 6000s is running on the Logan Square route. This may be California Avenue. However, why is there a bag over the coupler? This picture was probably taken in the 1950s.

What streetcar or interurban ran to Chicago Heights?

What streetcar or interurban ran to Chicago Heights?

I had expected a friend to possibly bid on this nice 1955 North Shore Line picture, but he demurred. We all have our standards for what constitutes a good photo. He said he already had other shots like this, and this shows the back of the train. At any rate, this is street running in Milwaukee.

I had expected a friend to possibly bid on this nice 1955 North Shore Line picture, but he demurred. We all have our standards for what constitutes a good photo. He said he already had other shots like this, and this shows the back of the train. At any rate, this is street running in Milwaukee.

I am not sure where these two views of a CTA "L" station were taken. Answer: two different places. The top picture is 42nd Place on the Kenwood branch of the "L", looking west. The lower picture was taken at Fullerton on the north-south main line.

I am not sure where these two views of a CTA “L” station were taken. Answer: two different places. The top picture is 42nd Place on the Kenwood branch of the “L”, looking west. The lower picture was taken at Fullerton on the north-south main line.

The top picture is the Belmont "L" station, and the bottom is the Illinois Central (now Metra) Electric.

The top picture is the Belmont “L” station, and the bottom is the Illinois Central (now Metra) Electric.

Two downtown shots on the Loop "L", probably 1950s.

Two downtown shots on the Loop “L”, probably 1950s.

This location is a mystery. Daniel Joseph thinks this may be Dorchester, on the Jackson Park branch of the "L".

This location is a mystery. Daniel Joseph thinks this may be Dorchester, on the Jackson Park branch of the “L”.

An IC Electric station.

An IC Electric station.

An original sign, indicating the abandonment of trolley service in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. This was a unique line, which was about 8 miles long and was not connected to any other Philadelphia streetcar line. It ran only in the park and lasted for 50 years. Open cars were run in the summer, closed cars at other times. By the time it shut down, it was practically an operating museum.

An original sign, indicating the abandonment of trolley service in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. This was a unique line, which was about 8 miles long and was not connected to any other Philadelphia streetcar line. It ran only in the park and lasted for 50 years. Open cars were run in the summer, closed cars at other times. By the time it shut down, it was practically an operating museum.

The Chicago & West Towns had a line to LaGrange that included some private right-of-way through the Forest Preserves. I assume this is the bridge over the DesPlaines River.

The Chicago & West Towns had a line to LaGrange that included some private right-of-way through the Forest Preserves. I assume this is the bridge over the DesPlaines River.

C&WT 152 on the LaGrange line, signed for the Brookfield Zoo.

C&WT 152 on the LaGrange line, signed for the Brookfield Zoo.

A nice early postcard view of the end of the Logan Square line. Unfortunately, the seller thinks this is worth $100, so I have taken a pass.

A nice early postcard view of the end of the Logan Square line. Unfortunately, the seller thinks this is worth $100, so I have taken a pass.

CTA postwar PCC 7101 (I think), but where? According to Jeff Wien, this is south State Street, between 88th and 92nd.

CTA postwar PCC 7101 (I think), but where? According to Jeff Wien, this is south State Street, between 88th and 92nd.

CTA 144 on one of those late 1950s fantrips... but where? The PCC further ahead is also likely part of the same fantrip, which took place on the weekend, when the CTA substituted buses for streetcars on the dwindling remaining routes prior to the 1958 abandonment. According to Jeff Wien, this picture was taken on May 25, 1958. The occasion was the final Chicago streetcar fantrip held by the Central Electric Railfans' Association. Note that the streetcars are heading north on Dearborn, crossing the Chicago River, using what had once been the southbound track, since this was once a two-way street.

CTA 144 on one of those late 1950s fantrips… but where? The PCC further ahead is also likely part of the same fantrip, which took place on the weekend, when the CTA substituted buses for streetcars on the dwindling remaining routes prior to the 1958 abandonment. According to Jeff Wien, this picture was taken on May 25, 1958. The occasion was the final Chicago streetcar fantrip held by the Central Electric Railfans’ Association. Note that the streetcars are heading north on Dearborn, crossing the Chicago River, using what had once been the southbound track, since this was once a two-way street.

C&WT 107 at, I am pretty sure, the south parking lot of Brookfield Zoo.

C&WT 107 at, I am pretty sure, the south parking lot of Brookfield Zoo.

C&WT 154 in what looks like a late 1930s paint scheme. I presume this is the barn at Cermak and Harlem.

C&WT 154 in what looks like a late 1930s paint scheme. I presume this is the barn at Cermak and Harlem.

Not sure where this picture of C&WT 124 was taken... Maywood? Or could this be Madison Street in Forest Park? Bill Shapotkin adds: "This photo was taken in Maywood. The car is in 19th Ave and the west end of the Madison St Line. The Grade crossing in the background is the C&NW-IHB (the "Melrose Park" C&NW station would be located to right). View looks north."

Not sure where this picture of C&WT 124 was taken… Maywood? Or could this be Madison Street in Forest Park? Bill Shapotkin adds: “This photo was taken in Maywood. The car is in 19th Ave and the west end of the Madison St Line. The Grade crossing in the background is the C&NW-IHB (the “Melrose Park” C&NW station would be located to right). View looks north.”

By comparing this picture of C&WT 100 with a different one, I have determined this was taken at Madison and Austin in Oak Park.

By comparing this picture of C&WT 100 with a different one, I have determined this was taken at Madison and Austin in Oak Park.

C&WT 111 at Madison and Austin in Oak Park.

C&WT 111 at Madison and Austin in Oak Park.

After what was supposed to be a "temporary" abandonment of the Lehigh Valley Transit's Liberty Bell route between Allentown and Norristown (PA) in September 1951, the railroad wasted no time in ripping up rails, so as to make it permanent. They were out there the very next morning.

After what was supposed to be a “temporary” abandonment of the Lehigh Valley Transit’s Liberty Bell route between Allentown and Norristown (PA) in September 1951, the railroad wasted no time in ripping up rails, so as to make it permanent. They were out there the very next morning.

Illinois Terminal interurban car 284 at an unknown location.

Illinois Terminal interurban car 284 at an unknown location.

CTA prewar PCC 7013 on the Cottage Grove line, circa 1952-55.

CTA prewar PCC 7013 on the Cottage Grove line, circa 1952-55.

In August 1957, a two-car CTA Garfield Park "L" train crosses the Chicago River near Union Station. Less than a year later, this line was replaced by the new Congress line, which connected to the Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway.

In August 1957, a two-car CTA Garfield Park “L” train crosses the Chicago River near Union Station. Less than a year later, this line was replaced by the new Congress line, which connected to the Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway.

CTA wooden "L" cars, including 345 at left, and a Met car at right, being scrapped at Skokie Shops in September 1957.

CTA wooden “L” cars, including 345 at left, and a Met car at right, being scrapped at Skokie Shops in September 1957.

Photos of streetcar company employees are always interesting. The car in this early 1900s photo is signed for Halsted Street.

Photos of streetcar company employees are always interesting. The car in this early 1900s photo is signed for Halsted Street.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 20 in South Elgin in August 1968. This is now called the Fox River Trolley Museum. It's original name was RELIC.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 20 in South Elgin in August 1968. This is now called the Fox River Trolley Museum. It’s original name was RELIC.

The North Shore Line's Highwood Shops on November 1, 1962, in a photo by R. W. Ferge. Car 767 is at left. Such interior photos are rare.

The North Shore Line’s Highwood Shops on November 1, 1962, in a photo by R. W. Ferge. Car 767 is at left. Such interior photos are rare.

On May 20, 1956, this is a view of the CTA's Metropolitan main line just west of the Loop. By this time, Chicago, Aurora & Elgin trains only ran as far as Forest Park, and 2.5 miles of the Garfield Park line ran in Van Buren Street. These tracks, or two of the four tracks, actually, continued in service for two more years, until the new Congress Expressway median line opened.

On May 20, 1956, this is a view of the CTA’s Metropolitan main line just west of the Loop. By this time, Chicago, Aurora & Elgin trains only ran as far as Forest Park, and 2.5 miles of the Garfield Park line ran in Van Buren Street. These tracks, or two of the four tracks, actually, continued in service for two more years, until the new Congress Expressway median line opened.

South Shore Line car 105 in South Bend, near the end of the line, in August 1955. Service was cut back to the outskirts of town in 1970, but there are plans to bring the line back downtown, although not via street running.

South Shore Line car 105 in South Bend, near the end of the line, in August 1955. Service was cut back to the outskirts of town in 1970, but there are plans to bring the line back downtown, although not via street running.

A CTA prewar PCC car at 77th and Vincennes on August 10, 1956, just prior to scrapping. Note how the seller has given this picture an extreme tilt, just to level it out. These cars were last used on Western Avenue.

A CTA prewar PCC car at 77th and Vincennes on August 10, 1956, just prior to scrapping. Note how the seller has given this picture an extreme tilt, just to level it out. These cars were last used on Western Avenue.

This very nice picture shows two of the CTA's new single car units on November 25, 1960, and was taken by Robert E. Bruneau. These were given high-speed motors and "circus wagon" colors for a time.

This very nice picture shows two of the CTA’s new single car units on November 25, 1960, and was taken by Robert E. Bruneau. These were given high-speed motors and “circus wagon” colors for a time.

This is the first time I can recall an original George Krambles slide being offered for sale. It shows a North Shore Line train "at speed" at Briergate in 1949. There are two schools of thought about such pictures. On the one hand, it's not technically perfect. It does not show a train posed in the sun. On the other hand, it does convey motion. These were moving trains, and boy, did they move!

This is the first time I can recall an original George Krambles slide being offered for sale. It shows a North Shore Line train “at speed” at Briergate in 1949. There are two schools of thought about such pictures. On the one hand, it’s not technically perfect. It does not show a train posed in the sun. On the other hand, it does convey motion. These were moving trains, and boy, did they move!

A Philadelphia PCC on Route 23 (Germantown) is at the Mermaid Loop on July 29, 1968.

A Philadelphia PCC on Route 23 (Germantown) is at the Mermaid Loop on July 29, 1968.

This picture of CTA 144, at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum at its original location in North Chicago, was taken on February 21, 1960. It's very interesting, but we already posted a very similar photo before, so we did not bid on this one.

This picture of CTA 144, at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum at its original location in North Chicago, was taken on February 21, 1960. It’s very interesting, but we already posted a very similar photo before, so we did not bid on this one.

If I had to guess, I would say this Chicago, Aurora & Elgin photo was taken at Wheaton. But so were a lot of such pictures, and the light was not shining the right way to illuminate the ends of the cars on this one.

If I had to guess, I would say this Chicago, Aurora & Elgin photo was taken at Wheaton. But so were a lot of such pictures, and the light was not shining the right way to illuminate the ends of the cars on this one.

A three-car North Shore Line train on June 16, 1962.

A three-car North Shore Line train on June 16, 1962.

One of the two North Shore Line Electroliners on June 17, 1962. Looks like a fantrip.

One of the two North Shore Line Electroliners on June 17, 1962. Looks like a fantrip.

A two-car CTA wooden "L" train on April 13, 1957. I would expect that we are not too far south of Howard Street.

A two-car CTA wooden “L” train on April 13, 1957. I would expect that we are not too far south of Howard Street.

Oak Parkers "of a certain age" might remember there was once a time (up to October 1962) when the outer portion of the Lake Street "L" ran on the ground, using overhead wire, running parallel to South Boulevard. This is an excellent example of such a photo. Note there is no fence on this portion. The "L" was relocated to the adjacent Chicago & North Western embankment.

Oak Parkers “of a certain age” might remember there was once a time (up to October 1962) when the outer portion of the Lake Street “L” ran on the ground, using overhead wire, running parallel to South Boulevard. This is an excellent example of such a photo. Note there is no fence on this portion. The “L” was relocated to the adjacent Chicago & North Western embankment.

Accident photos are a sensitive and controversial topic in the railfan field. Some don't think they should be shown at all, while others believe they are an important part of history. This is the aftermath of the 1977 accident where one CTA train ran into another, right at the corner of Wabash and Lake, and pushed some "L" cars off the structure. Since that tragedy, where several people lost their lives, additional steel has been added to the structure to prevent a reoccurence. This is a Mark Llanuza photo.

Accident photos are a sensitive and controversial topic in the railfan field. Some don’t think they should be shown at all, while others believe they are an important part of history. This is the aftermath of the 1977 accident where one CTA train ran into another, right at the corner of Wabash and Lake, and pushed some “L” cars off the structure. Since that tragedy, where several people lost their lives, additional steel has been added to the structure to prevent a reoccurence. This is a Mark Llanuza photo.

This Mark Llanuza picture from December 1982 says it is a "last run." I can't make out what the sign says, but at the very least, it's a six car CTA "L" train, made up of three sets of 6000-series cars, each painted different colors.

This Mark Llanuza picture from December 1982 says it is a “last run.” I can’t make out what the sign says, but at the very least, it’s a six car CTA “L” train, made up of three sets of 6000-series cars, each painted different colors.

This must be a fantrip train, and the date is August 6, 1972. But where was this taken? It can't be on the Evanston branch, as that was still powered by overhead wire, and there's no evidence of that here. According to Daniel Joseph, this actually is Noyes on the Evanston branch, and the picture must have been taken after third rail was installed. So the date provided could very well be wrong.

This must be a fantrip train, and the date is August 6, 1972. But where was this taken? It can’t be on the Evanston branch, as that was still powered by overhead wire, and there’s no evidence of that here. According to Daniel Joseph, this actually is Noyes on the Evanston branch, and the picture must have been taken after third rail was installed. So the date provided could very well be wrong.

CSL/CTA work car AA101 at 77th and Vincennes in 1955. Don's Rail Photos adds: "AA101, salt car, was built by South Chicago City Ry in 1907 as SCCRy 335. It was rebuilt in 1907 and became C&SCRy 834 in 1908. It was renumbered 2849 in 1913 and became CSL 2849 in 1914. It was later converted as a salt car and renumbered AA101 in 1948. It was retired on December 14, 1956.

CSL/CTA work car AA101 at 77th and Vincennes in 1955. Don’s Rail Photos adds: “AA101, salt car, was built by South Chicago City Ry in 1907 as SCCRy 335. It was rebuilt in 1907 and became C&SCRy 834 in 1908. It was renumbered 2849 in 1913 and became CSL 2849 in 1914. It was later converted as a salt car and renumbered AA101 in 1948. It was retired on December 14, 1956.

A 1958 date means this picture of a CTA PCC on Route 22 was taken on the last remaining streetcar line in Chicago, Wentworth. It is headed south. A few people have pointed out that 4385 is headed south on Clark Street, just north of the Chicago River, after passing over freight tracks.

A 1958 date means this picture of a CTA PCC on Route 22 was taken on the last remaining streetcar line in Chicago, Wentworth. It is headed south. A few people have pointed out that 4385 is headed south on Clark Street, just north of the Chicago River, after passing over freight tracks.

CTA trolley buses- are they coming or going? A June 25, 1974 date indicates they are going, towards Mexico and additional service there. This was just over a year since they last ran in Chicago.

CTA trolley buses- are they coming or going? A June 25, 1974 date indicates they are going, towards Mexico and additional service there. This was just over a year since they last ran in Chicago.

The Rochester (NY) Subway, 1956.

The Rochester (NY) Subway, 1956.

The Rochester (NY) Subway, 1956.

The Rochester (NY) Subway, 1956.

The Rochester (NY) Subway, 1956.

The Rochester (NY) Subway, 1956.

The Rochester (NY) Subway, 1956.

The Rochester (NY) Subway, 1956.

We haven't actually lost this auction yet, but this image is bundled with several others, and the price has already gone high. But this is an interesting picture, as it shows the temporary CTA Garfield Park/Congress right of way, somewhere west of the Lotus Tunnel, and presumably after a portion of the Congress median line opened in June 1958, but before the highway opened in 1960. Is this Austin Boulevard? At left, there is a residential street. At right, is the future site of the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway. In the distance, is perhaps a freight train, an industrial area, or maybe even part of Laramie Yard. A real mystery. We really do hope we will have the financial wherewithal to purchase this fascinating image.

We haven’t actually lost this auction yet, but this image is bundled with several others, and the price has already gone high. But this is an interesting picture, as it shows the temporary CTA Garfield Park/Congress right of way, somewhere west of the Lotus Tunnel, and presumably after a portion of the Congress median line opened in June 1958, but before the highway opened in 1960. Is this Austin Boulevard? At left, there is a residential street. At right, is the future site of the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway. In the distance, is perhaps a freight train, an industrial area, or maybe even part of Laramie Yard. A real mystery. We really do hope we will have the financial wherewithal to purchase this fascinating image.

Recent Correspondence

Our resident South side expert M. E. writes:

https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/10.jpg
I suspect you will find your answer (which interurban line is it?) in this map:
http://www.shore-line.org/images/JS_map.jpg
My two cents is that this is the Chicago and Interurban Traction Co. See
https://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/dr3137.htm
which is the red line in the shore-line.org map.
I certainly remember the building that housed the barn at 88th and Vincennes. There was still trackage leading into it.

https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/52.jpg
The sign says Ravenswood. The maximum length of Ravenswood trains was 6 cars.

Thanks… the sign I meant in picture 52 is the one hanging from the chain. I assume this was a Sunday fantrip, during the time when the Rave only ran to Belmont. So they would have been the only train on this part of the line, with photo stops galore.

Tricia Parker writes:

I was writing with a quick inquiry about a recent found beach object, which I believe is a streetcar badge. (Attached) Awhile back, before I found the badge, a friend directed me to your IG page, which I much enjoy!

I am seeking any information, and would be willing to pay for research time. The badge reads (all caps) “S. Haehlen’s 117 Express.” I believe it might be a 1933 World’s Fair route, but it’s a guess.

I am looking to make a brief video about it for educational purposes, and would welcome any knowledge. Happy to give you credit for any information. Thanks so much!

Thank you for your kind words. Let’s see what our readers can make of this.

Glad you like the photos I post on IG, even though I hardly ever put any train pictures there (look for @thetrolleydodger).

Vernon Glover writes:

As a now aging kid from Chicago, I enjoy your efforts a lot. And have purchased some items. Today, however, I am fully engaged in southwestern rail and industrial history, especially the El Paso & Southwestern System, an arm of Phelps Dodge. I have a number of M. D. McCarter prints and I would like to ask properly for permissions in publication for a forthcoming book with the Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society (SPH&TS).

Anything you have on the current status and address of the McCarter photo collection would be appreciated.

I am not sure what happened to his collection. Unfortunately, he died a few years ago. At one time, I tried calling the phone number listed for him, and there was no answer. I too had purchased some photos from him.

Sorry I can’t be of more assistance. Perhaps someone out there might know?

Todd Liebenauer writes:

Hello – Reaching out to see if you can help with a project I’m working on. My name is Todd Liebenauer, grandson of Karel Liebenauer. I think you may have used some of his pictures in your publications.

My father Karl and I both model O scale trolley cars and we both have a model of the Cleveland 5000 streetcar.

I’ve been researching the internet for every picture I can find of these cars to determine what equipment was on the underbodies of these cars. I have found a number pictures but none have given me a clear enough image of the left sides of the front and rear cars. What I have determined is not all the cars were the same. The pictures I found prove that. Would you happen to have anything you can share about these trolleys?

Attached is a picture of the model I have.

Thanks for any help you might be able to provide.

Another question I can’t answer… but maybe one of our readers might know? Thanks.

Allen Zagel writes:

I found your site while doing a search. Very interesting site.

Anyway, I seem to remember that a series of old Red CSL streetcars had unusual trucks featuring two different size wheels. In searching my Shore Line dispatches, especially #9, page 88, it appears that possibly it was High Side Brill #6063 but I can’t be sure.

Would there be any info or photos or drawings around?

Hopefully you might be able to help?

Thanks for writing. While I don’t know the answer to your question offhand, it’s likely that someone who reads my blog might.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

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
[/caption]


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

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


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

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

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



The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago in November 2018, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway. Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.
Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

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

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

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

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 248th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 605,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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

As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.

Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

Sweet Home Chicago

In 1938, a visitor to Chicago from the Soviet Union snapped this picture of Chicago PCC 4032 running on route 20 - Madison downtown, and brought it home. Now, more than 80 years later, it has returned to Chicago.

In 1938, a visitor to Chicago from the Soviet Union snapped this picture of Chicago PCC 4032 running on route 20 – Madison downtown, and brought it home. Now, more than 80 years later, it has returned to Chicago.

They say you can never go home again. But no matter how far we may wander from home, there is something, almost like an unseen force, that calls us back to the places we lived in, grew up in, or love the most. And while we often feature transit photos from other cities, Chicago remains our home and will always be our favorite. So today, we are featuring Chicago-area streetcars, rapid transit, interurbans, and buses.

We do have a couple examples of things that, improbably, did find their way home. First, a picture of a Chicago PCC streetcar that has come back “from Russia with love.” Second, prints and negatives of Chicago transit, taken in 1952, that have been reunited after who knows how many years.

We also have some recent photo finds of our own, including a news report from Miles Beitler on the new Pulse bus rapid transit operation in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, and more classic photos shared by Bill Shapotkin and Jeff Wien of the Wien-Criss Archive.  Finally, there is some correspondence with Andre Kristopans.

We thank all our contributors.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- If you have comments on individual photos, and I am sure you will, please refer to them by their image number, which you can find by hovering your mouse over the photo (for example, the picture at the top of this post is img882). That is more helpful to me than just saying something was the seventh photo down, etc. We always appreciate hearing from you if you have useful information to contribute regarding locations and other details. Thanks in advance.

We also should not let the opportunity pass to wish Raymond DeGroote, Jr. a happy belated 89th birthday. Ray is a world traveler, a raconteur, and the Dean of Chicago railfans.

Recent Finds

CSL "Matchbox" 1412 is on the Morgan-Racine-Sangamon route in this photo by Edward Frank, Jr. Don's Rail Photos adds, "1412 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1906 as CUT 4641. It was renumbered 1412 in 1913 and became CSL 1412 in 1914. It was retired on March 30, 1948... These cars were built by St. Louis Car in 1903 and 1906 for Chicago Union Traction Co. They are similar to the Robertson design without the small windows. Cars of this series were converted to one man operation in later years and have a wide horizontal stripe on the front to denote this. Two were used for an experimental articulated train. A number of these cars were converted to sand and salt service and as flangers." Car 1374 in this series has been lovingly restored to operating condition, at the Illinois Railway Museum.

CSL “Matchbox” 1412 is on the Morgan-Racine-Sangamon route in this photo by Edward Frank, Jr. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “1412 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1906 as CUT 4641. It was renumbered 1412 in 1913 and became CSL 1412 in 1914. It was retired on March 30, 1948… These cars were built by St. Louis Car in 1903 and 1906 for Chicago Union Traction Co. They are similar to the Robertson design without the small windows. Cars of this series were converted to one man operation in later years and have a wide horizontal stripe on the front to denote this. Two were used for an experimental articulated train. A number of these cars were converted to sand and salt service and as flangers.” Car 1374 in this series has been lovingly restored to operating condition, at the Illinois Railway Museum.

A two-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train, headed up by 433, is just west of the Canal Street station on the Metropolitan four-track main line in August 1953, a month before CA&E service was cut back to Forest Park. (John Szwajkart Photo)

A two-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train, headed up by 433, is just west of the Canal Street station on the Metropolitan four-track main line in August 1953, a month before CA&E service was cut back to Forest Park. (John Szwajkart Photo)

CTA 4060 is at the front of a two-car Ravenswood "L" train approaching Kimball and Lawrence in this undated photo (1950s-60s).

CTA 4060 is at the front of a two-car Ravenswood “L” train approaching Kimball and Lawrence in this undated photo (1950s-60s).

CTA Pullman 460 is on either Route 8 - Halsted or 9 - Ashland in the early 1950s, you can't quite make it out on the roll sign. However, I am leaning towards Halsted, as Ashland got bussed in 1951, and the auto at left looks more like 1953 vintage. This streetcar was saved by the CTA, and is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. It is one of only three red Pullmans saved, the others being 144 (also at IRM) and 225 (at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine). Charles F. Amstein adds that 460 is "on Ashland, just north of 95th Street, looking north-northwet. I grew up in this area and spent much of my time at Beverly Bowling Lanes, seen in the distance at right."

CTA Pullman 460 is on either Route 8 – Halsted or 9 – Ashland in the early 1950s, you can’t quite make it out on the roll sign. However, I am leaning towards Halsted, as Ashland got bussed in 1951, and the auto at left looks more like 1953 vintage. This streetcar was saved by the CTA, and is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. It is one of only three red Pullmans saved, the others being 144 (also at IRM) and 225 (at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine). Charles F. Amstein adds that 460 is “on Ashland, just north of 95th Street, looking north-northwet. I grew up in this area and spent much of my time at Beverly Bowling Lanes, seen in the distance at right.”

CTA 4374 is southbound on Clark Street, just south of Diversey, on September 6, 1957, the last day for the north half of Route 22 - Clark-Wentworth. Ricketts (no relation to the current Cubs ownership) was a popular restaurant. At left, down the street, you can just make out the marquee of the Parkway Theater. Autos visible include several Chevys, a Studebaker, and (at left) a 1957 Ford. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo) The tracks curving off to the left went into the CTA's Limits car barn (station), which was located at 2684 N. Clark. It got its name because, a long time earlier, this had been the city limits. There were facilities for cable cars at this location dating back to 1888. Limits car house opened in 1909, and was last used by streetcars in 1954 (the end of the Red Car era). It was used by buses until 1994, and the building was torn down in 1998.

CTA 4374 is southbound on Clark Street, just south of Diversey, on September 6, 1957, the last day for the north half of Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. Ricketts (no relation to the current Cubs ownership) was a popular restaurant. At left, down the street, you can just make out the marquee of the Parkway Theater. Autos visible include several Chevys, a Studebaker, and (at left) a 1957 Ford. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo) The tracks curving off to the left went into the CTA’s Limits car barn (station), which was located at 2684 N. Clark. It got its name because, a long time earlier, this had been the city limits. There were facilities for cable cars at this location dating back to 1888. Limits car house opened in 1909, and was last used by streetcars in 1954 (the end of the Red Car era). It was used by buses until 1994, and the building was torn down in 1998.

CTA Met car 2907 is at Indiana Avenue, running the Kenwood shuttle on the last day of service, November 30, 1957 (also the last day for regular passenger service for wooden "L" cars).

CTA Met car 2907 is at Indiana Avenue, running the Kenwood shuttle on the last day of service, November 30, 1957 (also the last day for regular passenger service for wooden “L” cars).

CTA one-man car 1769 (here painted green, not red) is at Lake and Austin, west end of Route 16. The date of this Bob Selle photo is December 19, 1953, one year to the day before I was born. The Park Theater at right appears to already be closed.

CTA one-man car 1769 (here painted green, not red) is at Lake and Austin, west end of Route 16. The date of this Bob Selle photo is December 19, 1953, one year to the day before I was born. The Park Theater at right appears to already be closed.

CTA one-man car 1732, in red, heads southwest on Fifth Avenue at Harrison on July 5, 1953. Madison-Fifth was part of Route 20, but as of May 11, 1952, buses were substituted for streetcars on weekends– except for the Fifth Avenue branch, which used streetcars. That must be a Harrison bus in the background. (Robert Selle Photo)

On June 19, 1953 CTA PCC 7070 heads south on Roue 8 - Halsted, passing by the Congress Expressway construction site. PCCs were soon taken off Halsted, which ended streetcar service the following year using older equipment. This photo was taken from the nearby Halsted "L" station, which was not in the expressway footprint. (Robert Selle Photo)

On June 19, 1953 CTA PCC 7070 heads south on Roue 8 – Halsted, passing by the Congress Expressway construction site. PCCs were soon taken off Halsted, which ended streetcar service the following year using older equipment. This photo was taken from the nearby Halsted “L” station, which was not in the expressway footprint. (Robert Selle Photo)

On May 12, 1954, Bob Selle took this picture of CTA Pullman 600, southbound on Route 8 - Halsted. This was less than three weeks before the end of streetcar service on this line. We are just south of the Metropolitan "L" station at Halsted, and crossing over the Congress Expressway construction. That looks like a Studebaker at left.

On May 12, 1954, Bob Selle took this picture of CTA Pullman 600, southbound on Route 8 – Halsted. This was less than three weeks before the end of streetcar service on this line. We are just south of the Metropolitan “L” station at Halsted, and crossing over the Congress Expressway construction. That looks like a Studebaker at left.

In this undated (probably late 1960s) photo taken on the Red Arrow Lines in suburban Philadelphia, Brilliner 10 appears to be changing ends. It is signed for the Media route, although this is not the end of that line. Perhaps there was track work going on. Matthew Nawn adds, "The photo of Red Arrow Lines #10 was taken at the Penn Street stop in Clifton Heights, PA. This is a stop on the Sharon Hill Line."

In this undated (probably late 1960s) photo taken on the Red Arrow Lines in suburban Philadelphia, Brilliner 10 appears to be changing ends. It is signed for the Media route, although this is not the end of that line. Perhaps there was track work going on. Matthew Nawn adds, “The photo of Red Arrow Lines #10 was taken at the Penn Street stop in Clifton Heights, PA. This is a stop on the Sharon Hill Line.”

This is how the interior of Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 301 looked on August 8, 1954, the date of a fantrip for the Central Electric Railfans' Association. Don's Rail Photos: "301 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in December 1940." (Robert Selle Photo)

This is how the interior of Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 301 looked on August 8, 1954, the date of a fantrip for the Central Electric Railfans’ Association. Don’s Rail Photos: “301 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in December 1940.” (Robert Selle Photo)

CA&E car 434 at an unidentified terminal. possibly Elgin.

CA&E car 434 at an unidentified terminal. possibly Elgin.

Once CA&E service stopped running to downtown Chicago, less equipment was needed. Here, wooden cars 137 and 141 are on the scrap track at the Wheaton Shops. Bob Selle took this picture on August 8, 1954. These cars were purchased from the North Shore Line in 1946.

Once CA&E service stopped running to downtown Chicago, less equipment was needed. Here, wooden cars 137 and 141 are on the scrap track at the Wheaton Shops. Bob Selle took this picture on August 8, 1954. These cars were purchased from the North Shore Line in 1946.

CA&E car 701, ex-Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis. Don's Rail Photos: "701 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1913 as WB&A 81. It was sold as CA&E 701 in 1938." Don also notes, "In 1937, the CA&E needed additional equipment. Much was available, but most of the cars suffered from extended lack of maintenance. Finally, 5 coaches were found on the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis which were just the ticket. 35 thru 39, built by Cincinnati Car in 1913, were purchased and remodeled for service as 600 thru 604. The ends were narrowed for service on the El. They had been motors, but came out as control trailers. Other modifications included drawbars, control, etc. A new paint scheme was devised. Blue and grey with red trim and tan roof was adopted from several selections. They entered service between July and October in 1937."

CA&E car 701, ex-Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis. Don’s Rail Photos: “701 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1913 as WB&A 81. It was sold as CA&E 701 in 1938.”
Don also notes, “In 1937, the CA&E needed additional equipment. Much was available, but most of the cars suffered from extended lack of maintenance. Finally, 5 coaches were found on the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis which were just the ticket. 35 thru 39, built by Cincinnati Car in 1913, were purchased and remodeled for service as 600 thru 604. The ends were narrowed for service on the El. They had been motors, but came out as control trailers. Other modifications included drawbars, control, etc. A new paint scheme was devised. Blue and grey with red trim and tan roof was adopted from several selections. They entered service between July and October in 1937.”

CA&E 401 at the end of the line in Elgin.

CA&E 401 at the end of the line in Elgin.

CA&E 452 at either Elgin or Aurora.

CA&E 452 at either Elgin or Aurora.

CA&E 457 at the front of a two-car train near the end of either the Aurora or Elgin terminals, as it is operating with overhead wire instead of third rail.

CA&E 457 at the front of a two-car train near the end of either the Aurora or Elgin terminals, as it is operating with overhead wire instead of third rail.

CA&E 429 at the head of a two-car train.

CA&E 429 at the head of a two-car train.

CA&E 451 heads up a two-car limited heading towards Chicago.

CA&E 451 heads up a two-car limited heading towards Chicago.

Speedrail (Milwaukee) car 63, a curved-sided product of Cincinnati Car Company, is operating as a local on the turnback track in Waukesha, on June 28 1951, two days before abandonment. (Photo by R. H. Adams, Jr.)

Speedrail (Milwaukee) car 63, a curved-sided product of Cincinnati Car Company, is operating as a local on the turnback track in Waukesha, on June 28 1951, two days before abandonment. (Photo by R. H. Adams, Jr.)

Six years ago, I purchased a couple strips of 35mm Super-XX black-and-white negatives and ran the photos on the blog I had at that time. There was no way to tell the exact date the pictures were taken, but they did contain various clues that helped narrow down the date. I posted the images, and several people guessed as to when they were shot. The consensus that eventually emerged was they were taken between Fall 1952 and Spring 1953. Well, in an act of serendipity, Jeff Wien (by way of Mr. Edward Springer) donated a set of snapshots to me that were made from these same negatives. They are dated December 1952, which is a better answer than we had before. You can see the rest of the photos here.

Six years ago, I purchased a couple strips of 35mm Super-XX black-and-white negatives and ran the photos on the blog I had at that time. There was no way to tell the exact date the pictures were taken, but they did contain various clues that helped narrow down the date. I posted the images, and several people guessed as to when they were shot. The consensus that eventually emerged was they were taken between Fall 1952 and Spring 1953. Well, in an act of serendipity, Jeff Wien (by way of Mr. Edward Springer) donated a set of snapshots to me that were made from these same negatives. They are dated December 1952, which is a better answer than we had before. You can see the rest of the photos here.

Pulse Bus Rapid Transit Celebration

Pace launched its Pulse bus rapid transit this week with the Pulse Milwaukee line which runs between Golf Mill in Niles and the Jefferson Park transit center in Chicago. Pace held a celebration event earlier today (August 15th) at Milwaukee and Touhy in Niles featuring speeches by various politicians, agency bureaucrats, and public transit advocates. A new Pulse bus was parked at the event and was available for public inspection, as well as a Pulse bus station with its passenger amenities.
Since you include bus photos on your blog, I have attached several photos of the event. Feel free to post any or all of them. The Pace website has detailed information about the Pulse service.
Ironically, Richmond (VA) has operated a bus rapid transit line for over a year which is very similar, and it’s also called “Pulse”. I don’t know if this is just a coincidence or if there is some connection between them. However, the Richmond line has dedicated bus-only lanes for part of its length, while our line runs in mixed traffic along Milwaukee Avenue.
-Miles Beitler

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

On June 21, 1958 an eastbound CTA train is in the station at Pulaski Road on the new Congress rapid transit line, then also known as the West Side Subway. Notice how little fencing there was separating the right-of-way from the highway. Eventually, this was replaced by concrete Jersey barriers after numerous vehicle crashes that impacted the "L". That way, when something hits the fence, it can take a "Jersey bounce."

On June 21, 1958 an eastbound CTA train is in the station at Pulaski Road on the new Congress rapid transit line, then also known as the West Side Subway. Notice how little fencing there was separating the right-of-way from the highway. Eventually, this was replaced by concrete Jersey barriers after numerous vehicle crashes that impacted the “L”. That way, when something hits the fence, it can take a “Jersey bounce.”

On June 21, 1958 a woman enters the new CTA rapid transit station at Pulaski Road on the Congress line, which replaced the Garfield Park "L" the following day. On this day, free rides were given out between Halsted and Cicero Avenues. The fiberglass panels on the sides of the entrance ramp were eventually cut down to allow for better visibility from outside.

On June 21, 1958 a woman enters the new CTA rapid transit station at Pulaski Road on the Congress line, which replaced the Garfield Park “L” the following day. On this day, free rides were given out between Halsted and Cicero Avenues. The fiberglass panels on the sides of the entrance ramp were eventually cut down to allow for better visibility from outside.

A North Shore Line Electroliner on December 28, 1962, less than a month before the end of the line for this interurban.

A North Shore Line Electroliner on December 28, 1962, less than a month before the end of the line for this interurban.

A new 2000-series CTA train at (I am guessing) the Douglas Park yards at 54th Avenue in Cicero on October 25, 1964.

A new 2000-series CTA train at (I am guessing) the Douglas Park yards at 54th Avenue in Cicero on October 25, 1964.

What I presume is the Douglas Park yard on October 25, 1964.

What I presume is the Douglas Park yard on October 25, 1964.

CTA articulated car set 51 (formerly 5001) found new life on the Skokie Swift after being oddball equipment on other lines, along with its three mates. Here, they are seen on the Swift on October 25, 1964, where they helped provide much-needed capacity in the face of unexpectedly large ridership several months after the new branch line began service.

CTA articulated car set 51 (formerly 5001) found new life on the Skokie Swift after being oddball equipment on other lines, along with its three mates. Here, they are seen on the Swift on October 25, 1964, where they helped provide much-needed capacity in the face of unexpectedly large ridership several months after the new branch line began service.

The date stamped on this slide is April 18, 1964, when demonstration rides were given out on the new CTA Skokie Swift branch line. However, that date may be incorrect, as my understanding is on that day, single car units 1-4 were coupled together and operated as a unit to provide demonstration rides, Regular service began on April 20, 1964. So either the units were uncoupled, or the date is wrong. Here, one of the high-speed cars is lowering its pan trolley, at the point where the line changed from overhead wire to third rail "on the fly."

The date stamped on this slide is April 18, 1964, when demonstration rides were given out on the new CTA Skokie Swift branch line. However, that date may be incorrect, as my understanding is on that day, single car units 1-4 were coupled together and operated as a unit to provide demonstration rides, Regular service began on April 20, 1964. So either the units were uncoupled, or the date is wrong. Here, one of the high-speed cars is lowering its pan trolley, at the point where the line changed from overhead wire to third rail “on the fly.”

On October 25, 1964 a pair of 4000-series "L" cars are seen at the Dempster terminal on the Skokie Swift, presumably on a fantrip.

On October 25, 1964 a pair of 4000-series “L” cars are seen at the Dempster terminal on the Skokie Swift, presumably on a fantrip.

This picture of the Dempster terminal is dated April 18, 1964, which would have been the very first day people could ride the Skokie Swift.

This picture of the Dempster terminal is dated April 18, 1964, which would have been the very first day people could ride the Skokie Swift.

Line car S-606 at the Dempster terminal on October 25, 1964. Don's Rail Photos adds, "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." Since the museum was evicted from its home, whatever portion of the car that survives has been taken on by another preservation group, in hopes that it can eventually be rebuilt or restored.

Line car S-606 at the Dempster terminal on October 25, 1964. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “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.” Since the museum was evicted from its home, whatever portion of the car that survives has been taken on by another preservation group, in hopes that it can eventually be rebuilt or restored.

The following South Shore Line photos, again courtesy of William Shapotkin, are all dated October 1965 and are from a fantrip.

Here are some classic postcard views, again from the collections of William Shapotkin:

From Jeff Wien and the Wien-Criss Archive:

These pictures of the Illinois Terminal Railroad were taken on July 4, 1950:

Don's Rail Photos: "1565, Class B, was built at Decatur in 1910. It was sold to Illinois Power & Light Co at Campaign on April 10, 1955. It was acquired by Illinois Railway Museum in 1960."

Don’s Rail Photos: “1565, Class B, was built at Decatur in 1910. It was sold to Illinois Power & Light Co at Campaign on April 10, 1955. It was acquired by Illinois Railway Museum in 1960.”

IT 270.

IT 270.

IT 273.

IT 273.

Don's Rail Photos: "276 was built by St Louis Car in 1913. It was air conditioned and the arch windows were covered. It was sold for scrap to Compressed Steel Co on March 13, 1956."

Don’s Rail Photos: “276 was built by St Louis Car in 1913. It was air conditioned and the arch windows were covered. It was sold for scrap to Compressed Steel Co on March 13, 1956.”

IT 281.

IT 281.

IT 284.

IT 284.

Don's Rail Photos: "1201 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910 as an express motor with 20 seats at the rear. In 1919 it was rebuilt with a small baggage section at the front and the trucks were changed from Curtis to Baldwin."

Don’s Rail Photos: “1201 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910 as an express motor with 20 seats at the rear. In 1919 it was rebuilt with a small baggage section at the front and the trucks were changed from Curtis to Baldwin.”

IT 052. This looks like a sleeping car or bunk car and is unpowered.

IT 052. This looks like a sleeping car or bunk car and is unpowered.

Again from the Wien-Criss Archive, here are a series of photos taken at the Chicago Aurora & Elgin’s Wheaton Yards, in August 1959 after the line had stopped running even freight service. Several cars were sold to museum interests and moved off the property in early 1962. Everything else was scrapped. It’s possible that these pictures may have been taken by the late Joseph Saitta of New York.

Looking somewhat worse for wear, here is CA&E car 321 as it looked at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago on June 9, 1962. This and the other cars that were saved from the line had been stored outdoors for a few years, and exposure to the elements took their toll. The museum, now just IRM, moved to Union in 1964. (Wien-Criss Archive Photo)

Looking somewhat worse for wear, here is CA&E car 321 as it looked at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago on June 9, 1962. This and the other cars that were saved from the line had been stored outdoors for a few years, and exposure to the elements took their toll. The museum, now just IRM, moved to Union in 1964. (Wien-Criss Archive Photo)

The following pictures, also from the Wien-Criss Archive, are not very sharp, but do show Chicago transit vehicles in September 1953 and May 1954. There are several shots of the temporary ground-level trackage used from 1953 to 1958 by the Garfield Park “L”, during construction of the Congress Expressway. Those pictures were taken at Van Buren and Western. Some of the PCC photos were snapped in the vicinity of Roosevelt Road, which is also where the Greyhound bus picture was probably taken.

Recent Correspondence

We recently asked Andre Kristopans about which Chicago streetcars, including PCCs, were converted to one-man operation in the CTA era.  Here’s what he reports:

In 1951, all 83 prewar PCCs to OMC on AFE S14000. At same time, 21 Sedans to OMC (3325,3347-3349,3351-3352,3354-3355,3357,3360-3363,3368,3372,3378-3379,6303,6305,6310,6319) on AFE S14001

However almost immediately 20 postwars 4052-4061,7035-7044 to OMC on S14011

155 older cars 1721-1785,3119-3178,6155-6198 to convertible OMC 1948 on S11381

Some additional info. Of the 169 cars in the three groups listed for one-manning, the following were already gone when the plan was announced:

6 under CSL 1945-47 1738,1754,1770,3133,3170,3176
8 under CTA 1948 1727,1763,3130,3150,3152,3155,3159,6197

169 minus above 14 leaves 155 for conversion in 1949

Me: Thanks… and none of the Peter Witts were used in one-man service, right?

Andre: Redone then scrapped replaced by postwars?

Me: Didn’t this have to do with the decision not to one-man 63rd Street? Or was it simply that mixing the Sedans with PCCs would have slowed things down?

Andre: Supposedly one of the aldermen along 63rd pitched a bitch about the sedans after he saw one. Thought they would be “unsafe”. Not sure on what grounds, suspect had to do with center door arrangement. But plan was dropped and sedans scrapped.

Me: Thanks!

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
[/caption]


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

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


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

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

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



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

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

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

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

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

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More Railroad Record Club Rarities

Waterloo Cedar Falls and Northern car 100. This car is featured on Railroad Record Club LP #2. Don’s Rail Photos: “100 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1914. It was built as a second motor to operate behind the 140s as a two car train. The baggage compartment was a kitchen, and the rear end was an open platform observation. The buffet section was replaced with coach seats in 1918. The car was then rebuilt with a control station and baggage compartment in 1928 and the rear platform was enclosed at that time. It was the last interurban left on the WCF&N when it became diesel freight, and it was donated to the Iowa Chapter of the NRHS in 1956. It was moved to Centerville and operated on the Southern Iowa Ry. When the SI cut back its operation and dieselized, the Iowa Chapter transferred the car to the Iowa Terminal RR in 1966. Shortly after it was repainted and put into charter service, it was destroyed in the carbarn fire early November 24, 1967. It had been the only car saved from the WCF&N roundhouse fire on October 31, 1954, when the other two cars of its class burned.”

No one person has been more responsible for preserving the historic artifacts connected with William A. Steventon‘s Railroad Record Club than our good friend Kenneth Gear. A while back, Ken acquired many of the original RRC tape recordings, some of which were never issued.

I have referred before to the RRC output being the “tip of the iceberg,” so to speak, and thanks to Ken, we are beginning to see what the rest of the RRC archive consisted of. While we had already issued some “new” RRC recordings, taken from discs found in the Steventon archive, we have something even more exciting to announce today– newly uncovered audio recordings of the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban, the fabled North Shore Line, unheard for perhaps as much as 60 years.

These recordings have been digitized from original RRC tapes that Ken purchased, and are now available for the first time on compact disc. More details about that will be found at the end of this post.

Because we feel it is important for Ken to get back at least some of the substantial investment he has made, in order to preserve these and other historic materials, we are paying Ken a royalty of $5 for each disc sold. Our humble offerings are already reasonably priced, and we don’t make much money from them. On top of that, the Trolley Dodger has, to date, operated at a loss for every year. Our original losses were in excess of $10k per year. This was reduced to $6k in 2017, and we recently did our taxes and are pleased to report that we cut the loss to just $1400 in 2018.

Our goal with this enterprise is historic preservation and education, to provide an archive where people can get, and exchange information about electric railways. In some ways it is the modern equivalent of what my friend Ray DeGroote calls the “intelligence network” of railfans, which has been around since the 1930s or even earlier, just updated for the Internet age.

It used to be that you had to know somebody to be part of this intelligence network, and information was passed from one person to another. Now, it is accessible to anyone and everyone who wants it, via the world wide web.

With that in mind, our goal has always been to break even, in order to make the Trolley Dodger a self-sustaining enterprise.

But we have to give credit where credit is due. Without Kenneth Gear’s personal sacrifices, it’s possible that these materials would have been lost forever, and would have ended up in a dumpster somewhere. You never would even have known they existed.

That’s why I hope you will help support Ken’s gallant efforts by purchasing a copy of this new CD offering.

Because we are not entirely mercenary, Ken is also sharing dozens of classic railfan photos which he purchased as part of the Railroad Record Club archive. Presumably, all or nearly all of these were taken by the late William A. Steventon (1921-1993) himself, as many reflect the areas he lived, worked, and traveled to in his career.

A few of these we already published, but most of these appear here for the first time.

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

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

Altoona and Logan Valley car 74. Don’s Rail Photos: “74 was built by Osgood-Bradley Car Co in 1930.”

This photo was originally misidentified, but actually shows Indianapolis Railways Peter Witt car #132, apparently on a fantrip, probably circa 1950. The streetcar was a Master Unit (that was a Brill trade name), built circa 1932-33, making it one of the last such orders before the PCC era. Master Units were supposed to be a standardized car, but in actuality I believe no two orders were exactly the same.

This photo was originally misidentified, but actually shows Indianapolis Railways Peter Witt car #132, apparently on a fantrip, probably circa 1950. The streetcar was a Master Unit (that was a Brill trade name), built circa 1932-33, making it one of the last such orders before the PCC era. Master Units were supposed to be a standardized car, but in actuality I believe no two orders were exactly the same.

A Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train street running in Aurora in 1931. The CA&E was relocated off-street here in 1939.

A Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train street running in Aurora in 1931. The CA&E was relocated off-street here in 1939.

A Capital Transit PCC and bus at Catholic University in the Washington, DC area.

A Capital Transit PCC and bus at Catholic University in the Washington, DC area.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 476, which was featured on Railroad Record Club LP SP-1.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 476, which was featured on Railroad Record Club LP SP-1.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 481.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 481.

Des Moines and Central Iowa cars #1701 and 1704 in the scrap line, November 19, 1939.

Des Moines and Central Iowa cars #1701 and 1704 in the scrap line, November 19, 1939.

Des Moines and Central Iowa #1705 in October 1938.

Des Moines and Central Iowa #1705 in October 1938.

Des Moines and Central Iowa car 1710.

Des Moines and Central Iowa car 1710.

East Broad Top #15 on a rainy day, very likely while Railroad Record Club LP #3 was being recorded.

East Broad Top #15 on a rainy day, very likely while Railroad Record Club LP #3 was being recorded.

Evansville and Ohio Valley car #134.

Evansville and Ohio Valley car #134.

Hagerstown and Frederick #19 in Frederick, MD on May 30, 1939.

Hagerstown and Frederick #19 in Frederick, MD on May 30, 1939.

The same picture cropped.

The same picture cropped.

A Hagerstown and Frederick work car in Fredercik, MD on May 30, 1939.

A Hagerstown and Frederick work car in Fredercik, MD on May 30, 1939.

Hagerstown and Frederick 164.

Hagerstown and Frederick 164.

Illinois Terminal car 285. Don’s rail Photos: “285 was built by St Louis Car in 1914. It was rebuilt as a parlor car in 1024 and as a coach in December 1928. It was air conditioned in August 1938 and got new seating in December 1952. It was sold for scrap to Hyman Michaels Co. on May 16, 1956.”

An Illinois Terminal local on Caldwell Hill in East Peoria about 1936.

An Illinois Terminal local on Caldwell Hill in East Peoria about 1936.

A fuzzy picture of Illinois Power Company loco #1551.

A fuzzy picture of Illinois Power Company loco #1551.

A builder's photo of Illinois Terminal #207.

A builder’s photo of Illinois Terminal #207.

Illinois Terminal 1201 at Peoria. Don’s Rail Photos: “1201 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910 as an express motor with 20 seats at the rear. In 1919 it was rebuilt with a small baggage section at the front and the trucks were changed from Curtis to Baldwin.”

Indiana Railroad box car #550.

Indiana Railroad box car #550.

Indiana Railroad loco #752 waiting for loads at a mine scale.

Indiana Railroad loco #752 waiting for loads at a mine scale.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #64. Howard Pletcher adds, “Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #64 is at the Fort Wayne passenger terminal.”

The Indiana Railroad passenger terminal in Fort Wayne. (Howard Pletcher Collection)

The Indiana Railroad passenger terminal in Fort Wayne. (Howard Pletcher Collection)

Indiana Railroad #93 at Anderson, IN on September 4, 1938.

Indiana Railroad #93 at Anderson, IN on September 4, 1938.

Indiana Railroad box motor #722.

Indiana Railroad box motor #722.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #80 on an Indianapolis local. It was built by Pullman in 1931 and scrapped in 1941.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #80 on an Indianapolis local. It was built by Pullman in 1931 and scrapped in 1941.

Indiana Railroad box motor #115.

Indiana Railroad box motor #115.

Indiana Railroad car #375. Don’s Rail Photos: “375 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1926 as Indiana Service Corp 375. It was ass1gned to IRR as 375 in 1932 and rebuilt as a RPO-combine in 1935. It was sold to Chicago South Shore & South Bend in 1941 as 503 and used as a straight baggage car. It was rebuilt in 1952 with windows removed and doors changed.”

Indiana Railroad car #446.

Indiana Railroad car #446.

Indiana Railroad car #730.

Indiana Railroad car #730.

Indiana Railroad loco #792.

Indiana Railroad loco #792.

The same picture, restored.

The same picture, restored.

Indiana Railroad Vigo with rails ripped out.

Indiana Railroad Vigo with rails ripped out.

Indiana Service Corp., looking forward from car at speed on Spy Run Avenue showing car on #6 line, May 22, 1939.

Indiana Service Corp., looking forward from car at speed on Spy Run Avenue showing car on #6 line, May 22, 1939.

Indiana Service Corporation #820 at Wabash station on August 3, 1936.

Indiana Service Corporation #820 at Wabash station on August 3, 1936.

Indiana Service Corp View across the Broadway bridge, showing double truck car in distance, August 18, 1940. (But what city is this?) Mike Peters writes: “he ISC city car is in Fort Wayne, a block away from the south end of the Broadway line. The bridge carries Bluffton Road and the ISC interurban to Bluffton over the Saint Marys River. A good map of the Ft. Wayne system can be found in “Fort Wayne’s Trolleys” (George Bradley). ISC did provide service in several smaller cities, but these lines did not survive the 1930’s.”

Interstate car #711, ex-Indiana Public Service Corporation 427, on September 3, 1939.

Interstate car #711, ex-Indiana Public Service Corporation 427, on September 3, 1939.

Interstate car 711 on shop siding west of Greencastle on June 3 1939.

Interstate car 711 on shop siding west of Greencastle on June 3 1939.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #94. Don’s Rail Photos: “90 thru 99 were built by Cummings in 1930 as Northern Indiana Ry 350 thru 359. In 1935, they were returned to Cummings, who rebuilt them and sold them to the IRR. They were retired in 1940.”

Indiana Railroad line car 763 at the Muncie station on May 19, 1940.

Indiana Railroad line car 763 at the Muncie station on May 19, 1940.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car 96.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car 96.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #90 at New Castle, IN on July 4, 1936. Note the Woolworth's at right.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #90 at New Castle, IN on July 4, 1936. Note the Woolworth’s at right.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #95 at the Indianapolis terminal.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #95 at the Indianapolis terminal.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #99.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #99.

Indiana Railroad #787.

Indiana Railroad #787.

Lake Erie and Northern car #795.

Lake Erie and Northern car #795.

Lake Erie and Northern car #797.

Lake Erie and Northern car #797.

Lake Erie and Northern car #939.

Lake Erie and Northern car #939.

A Lehigh Valley Transit Allentown Limited on the Liberty Bell Route, descending the ramp at Norristown (where LVT shared tracks with the Philadelphia & Western for access to Philadelphia, at least until 1949).

A Lehigh Valley Transit Allentown Limited on the Liberty Bell Route, descending the ramp at Norristown (where LVT shared tracks with the Philadelphia & Western for access to Philadelphia, at least until 1949).

Lehigh Valley Transit lightweight high-speed car 1002, presumably in Allentown PA.

Lehigh Valley Transit lightweight high-speed car 1002, presumably in Allentown PA.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (photo restored).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (photo restored).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (unrestored photo).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (unrestored photo).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #106.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #106.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #14.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #14.

Mason City and Clear Lake steeple cab #52.

Mason City and Clear Lake steeple cab #52.

Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway yard.

Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway yard.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway snow plow.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway snow plow.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway trolley.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway trolley.

A nice right-of-way photo with no information, other than the date-- March 31, 1936.

A nice right-of-way photo with no information, other than the date– March 31, 1936.

Jeff Wien: “TMER&T, route 13: Clybourn Downtown Milwaukee.”
.

No information.

No information.

This is a three-car train of Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speeds in multiple-unit service on a fantrip, circa 1938-40.

This is a three-car train of Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speeds in multiple-unit service on a fantrip, circa 1938-40.

No information (photo restored).

No information (photo restored).

No information (unrestored photo).

No information (unrestored photo).

Does ST F Co RR stand for Santa Fe? At any rate, this is car #54 at Farmington, MO.

Does ST F Co RR stand for Santa Fe? At any rate, this is car #54 at Farmington, MO.

Salt Lake and Utah loco #101.

Salt Lake and Utah loco #101.

Sand Springs Railway (Oklahoma) loco #1001.

Sand Springs Railway (Oklahoma) loco #1001.

Unidentified car and person. Mike Peters: “The photo of 817 and employee would also be Fort Wayne. After passenger operations ceased, this motor was retained for switching the Spy Run power plant and several nearby industries. The roster in “Fort Wayne and Wabash Valley Trolleys” (CERA #122) shows the 817 as being retired in 1952.”

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Union Electric Railway loco #80.

Union Electric Railway loco #80.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Washington and Old Dominion car #44 and a Railway Express Agency truck in Rosslyn VA.

Washington and Old Dominion car #44 and a Railway Express Agency truck in Rosslyn VA.

A Washington and Old Dominion locomotive.

A Washington and Old Dominion locomotive.

A Washington and Old Dominion RPO (Railway Post Office) on a mail run outside Rosslyn VA.

A Washington and Old Dominion RPO (Railway Post Office) on a mail run outside Rosslyn VA.

The Washington and Old Dominion shops.

The Washington and Old Dominion shops.

Recent Finds

The CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park in July 1955. This is an unusal view, looking west from Desplaines Avenue. At left, you can just barely see some streetcar tracks, which were used by West Towns Railways trolleys no later than 1948. That could be a CTA Route 17 bus, and you can also see some Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban cars in the station. The CA&E cut back service to here in 1953.

The CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park in July 1955. This is an unusal view, looking west from Desplaines Avenue. At left, you can just barely see some streetcar tracks, which were used by West Towns Railways trolleys no later than 1948. That could be a CTA Route 17 bus, and you can also see some Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban cars in the station. The CA&E cut back service to here in 1953.

CTA 1775 at Cermak and Kostner on March 21, 1954, about two months before streetcar service ended on Route 21.

CTA 1775 at Cermak and Kostner on March 21, 1954, about two months before streetcar service ended on Route 21.

CTA 7213 on Route 49 - Western on August 2, 1949. This car would later become the last Chicago streetcar to operate.

CTA 7213 on Route 49 – Western on August 2, 1949. This car would later become the last Chicago streetcar to operate.

North Shore Line 254

North Shore Line 254 “at freight station on “L”structure near Loop – January 27, 1962.”

The North Shore Line shops interior in Milwaukee, September 24, 1961.

The North Shore Line shops interior in Milwaukee, September 24, 1961.

Chicago Surface Lines 5258 at Lowe Avenue in the 1940s (not sure of main street, perhaps 79th?).

Chicago Surface Lines 5258 at Lowe Avenue in the 1940s (not sure of main street, perhaps 79th?).

CTA 6180, a one-man car, picks up passengers at an

CTA 6180, a one-man car, picks up passengers at an “L” station in the early 1950s.

CTA 7216, a St. Louis Car Company PCC, is northbound on Route 36 – Broadway in the 1950s. Jeff Wien: “Cars laying over on 119th at Morgan.”

CTA 4362, a Pullman PCC, on Route 8 – Halsted, most likely in the late 1940s. Jeff Wien adds, “Rt. 8 car has just pulled off of Broadway onto Waveland to head south on Halsted to 79th Street loop. Photo ca 1951 when Halsted was operated with PCCs, most Pullmans.”

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.

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

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

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

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

Bibliographic information:

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

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

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

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

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

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Railroad Record Club Treasure Hunt, Part 2

1 Selection of Steventon tapes mostly unreleased

1 Selection of Steventon tapes mostly unreleased

Following up on our recent post William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club (September 24, 2018), guest author Kenneth Gear continues with a detailed rundown on his latest discoveries.

I have been interested in historic preservation for a long time, and it’s not every day that anyone comes across original material such as this. Suddenly, out of nowhere it seems, previously unknown, unissued audio recordings have emerged for some long-vanished steam and electric railroads, along with 16mm motion picture film, and various artifacts related to the Railroad Record Club’s 42 issued LPs, in their various forms. It seems like a miracle that somehow, it all survived to be rescued from oblivion.

Getting this done involved a tremendous financial sacrifice on Ken’s part, as he is of modest means. I hope that he will be able to recoup at least some of his substantial investment in the future. I am sure he will appreciate any contributions you may be able to offer him, towards the cost of transferring some of these reel-to-reel tapes and 16mm movie films to digital.

You can find Part 1 here: Railroad Record Club Treasure Hunt (July 30, 2017)

-David Sadowski

PS- Our new book Building Chicago’s Subways is now available for immediate shipment.  If you already pre-ordered it, your copy is already on its way to you.  We are excited to have had the opportunity to tell the story of this exciting chapter in Chicago history.  Details on how to order are at the end of this post.

Railroad Record Club Treasure Hunt, Part 2

It’s been over a year since I acquired a large portion of the William Steventon estate. The Railroad Record Club items that I purchased last year have enabled David and I to piece together a fairly complete history of the RRC and to more fully appreciate the time and effort Mr. Steventon put into producing these records. The homemade 78rpm records alone proved to be an invaluable resource. Not only did they provide us with some wonderful recordings, most of which hadn’t been heard in over fifty years, they revealed the pre-history of the club and offered a glimpse into the infancy of railroad field recording.

We were able to hear the very first railroad recording Steventon made– B&O trains at Riverdale, Maryland in 1953. We also finally completed our quest to get a copy of every single released RRC record digitized and put on CDs. We are now only in need of two samplers, the 5th and 6th years. More interesting information was garnered from examining original record jacket artwork and paste up boards, as well as the metal print blocks. We were also able to compile a list of records re-issued on 12″ stock and find out what was necessary for it to happen and the cost of doing it.

Photographs from his personal collection were scanned and published in the Trolley Dodger for all to enjoy. I think the effort that went into keeping all this material from ending up in a dumpster was well worth the time and expense and I’m happy to have been involved.

In spite of this, I knew the job was only half finished. There was much more that needed to be saved and time was running out. Those tapes I wrote about under the heading “what I left behind” in the first treasure hunt story needed to be preserved. There were still a big box of photos, reams of correspondence, the metal master discs for the 12″ reissues and lots and lots of sealed records.

The estate dealer was quite adamant that this stuff had to go…and quickly! I purchased all that I could, but I certainly could not afford to buy anything else and asked for some time to raise the money. As I tried to come up with the extra cash needed, months went by and the emails ceased. For a while it seemed that all this great material would be lost. Still, I squirreled away what money I could when I could and slowly, much too slowly, I approached his asking price. With the funds in hand, I emailed the estate dealer putting in the subject line that I HAD the money for the remaining Steventon estate items. Even as I composed that email I couldn’t be sure that the entire lot wasn’t already in some land fill rotting away. He answered me the next day, but it seemed a lot longer then that to me. His first two sentences were a relief:  

Ken, good to hear from you.  Yes, it is all as we left it a year ago.

There was one complication that needed to be addressed. I could not make the trip up to him in Wisconsin this year as I had done before. All the items would have to be shipped to me in New Jersey.

The estate dealer was agreeable to packing up the items and doing the weighing and making the transportation arrangements, but again there was a complication. This was his busy season and he would be working extensively out of town.  He would not be able to devote much time to this effort for the next few weeks. A little progress was made here and there through the rest of June and I purchased boxes and packing material in July. I was a little apprehensive about shipping old open reel tapes and vinyl records during the hottest part of the summer anyway, so I just had to be patient. In early August progress was made and on the 13th I received the long-awaited email:

The last box is packed.  You’ll have a pallet coming that’s right around 400 pounds, perhaps a touch over.  Nine boxes to be delivered to the YRC terminal. 

Several more delays would still be encountered, not the lest of which was the local hardware store’s forklift needing repairs. The hardware store, for a $20 fee, would be used to lift the pallet onto the truck. At last, in early September, with all hurdles cleared, a newly-repaired forklift placed the shipment on to the truck. Finally, the second half of the Steventon estate’s Railroad Record Club items were on their way to me.

A few days later I heading to the local YRC terminal to receive the long-awaited shipment. After some paperwork in the office, I backed a borrowed ¾-ton pick-up truck to the indicated bay. Soon a forklift lowered the last of the Railroad Record Club items from the Steventon estate into the truck bed. I now had a night of treasure hunting to look forward to!

I had sort of “cherry picked” the first half of the estate, so I knew that a great unexpected find was rather doubtful, but I did come across a few surprises.

THE TAPES

2 Tapes appear to be in good condition

2 Tapes appear to be in good condition

3 Tape with hand written track listing

3 Tape with hand written track listing

4 More unreleased Steventon audio

4 More unreleased Steventon audio

5 Lots of interesting material on these tapes

5 Lots of interesting material on these tapes

6 Still more intersting tapes

6 Still more intersting tapes

7 Unreleased audio this is why I bought the whole lot

7 Unreleased audio this is why I bought the whole lot

8 Steventon tapes

8 Steventon tapes

9 More Stevnton tapes

9 More Stevnton tapes

10 Even more tapes

10 Even more tapes