Robert Heinlein volunteered at the Illinois Railway Museum for many years.
Robert Heinlein, one of the giants in the railfan community, passed away on April 30, 2023, at the age of 84. You can read his obituary here.
Bob Heinlein was very knowledgeable, always cheerful, and continually went out of his way to share what he had learned to help others. He will be sorely missed.
Mr. Heinlein was a contributor to Central Electric Railfans’ Association Bulletin B-146, Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958, of which I was a co-author. Unfortunately, he was not properly credited for several of his photographs, which were mistakenly attributed to the late Charles L. Tauscher (who was also an excellent photographer).
My co-author, the late Jeff Wien used twelve duplicate slides he had obtained in 1959 for the book, including the image on the cover. He was under the impression he had gotten these from Tauscher, but they were actually photos taken by Bob Heinlein. After the book was published, Bob informed Jeff of the error and loaned him the original slides, which I scanned. These images appeared in our previous post Loose Ends (February 2, 2021) with proper attribution.
Some of Mr. Heinlein’s images also appeared in my book The North Shore Line, which appeared earlier this year. Fortunately, he did see the book and I am told he enjoyed it.
The last time I met Mr. Heinlein was about a year ago, when I happened to run into him and his family by chance at the East Troy Railroad Museum. He was enjoying a ride on one of their restored trolley cars, and remarked how it would have been even more fun if they were running on the “L” twenty feet off the ground. That is how I would like to remember him.
He was an excellent photographer, going back to the early 1950s. In this post, we are sharing some of his own work, and other pictures from his vast collection, as a way of offering our condolences to his family, and as a tribute to the memory of a life well lived. We thank his son Kevin Heinlein for sharing these pictures with our readers.
Our friend Kenneth Gear has a Facebook group for the Railroad Record Club. If you enjoy listening to audio recordings of classic railroad trains, whether steam, electric, or diesel, you might consider joining.
FYI, the Hoosier Traction Facebook Group celebrates electric transit in Indiana and the Midwest. It also supports the activities of the annual Hoosier Traction Meet (although not affiliated with the North American Transit Historical Society, which organizes that event).
On June 21, 1958, the Chicago Transit Authority offered free rides between Halsted Street and Cicero Avenue on its new rapid transit line in the median of the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway. Robert Heinlein, then 20 years old, was working in the Public Information department and helps pass out literature. The new line opened the next day, replacing the Garfield Park “L”. This picture appeared in the July 1958 issue of the CTA Transit News, an employee publication.
CTA 7163 is southbound at Clark, Halsted, and Barry in July 1957. A version of this photo, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 170 of B-146, mistakenly credited to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7162 is southbound on Clark Street at LaSalle Drive in September 1957. A version of this photo, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 177 of B-146, mistakenly credited to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7171 is northbound on Clark Street, passing Wrigley Field. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7138 at Schreiber and Ravenswood, near Devon Station. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7192 at Kinzie and Dearborn in 1957. The yellow car behind the PCC, while commonly considered a Packard, is technically a 1956 Clipper Constellation hardtop, made by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7193 is northbound on Clark, just north of Ridge, at around 5961 N. Clark in July 1957. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, was incorrectly credited to Charles L. Tauscher on page 158 of B-146. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7151 is southbound at Clark Street and Chicago Avenue, passing by what is now the former Cosmopolitan Bank Building, designed by the firm of Schmidt, Garden & Martin and built in 1920. The northern portion of the building was a 1930 addition, and was redone in 1995, in a style matching the original portion. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7180 is southbound on Clark Street, passing by the coal company that was once located next to Wrigley Field. You get a good view of the Milwaukee Road freight tracks, since abandoned, that headed north of here. This was once part of a line that offered commuter rail service on the north side. The portion north of Wilson Avenue was taken over by the “L” in the early 1900s. Originally known as the Evanston Extension, it was gradually elevated as well. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7214 heads south on Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. Since the Cubs were in the middle of a home stand, the date may very well have been September 4, 1957. The Cubbies would lose two of their three next games to the Cincinnati Redlegs (“Reds” was apparently too sensitive a name politically then) on their way to finishing the season with a record of 62 wins, 92 losses, and 2 ties. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7191 passing by Wrigley Field. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7189 is southbound on Clark Street just south of Irving Park Road in July 1957. The Wunders Cemetery is at right. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 165 of B-146, where it is incorrectly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7190 at Clark and Seminary by Wrigley Field in July 1957. The “coke” advertised here wasn’t Coca-Cola, but coal, used for heating homes and businesses then, but phased out soon afterwards. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 167 of B-146, incorrectly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7178 heads south on Clark Street near Wrigley Field in September 1957. The Milwaukee Road railroad tracks running by the ballpark were used for freight and connected with the CTA “L” just north of Irving Park Road. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 166 of B-146, where it is incorrectly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7190 heads south on State Street, crossing the Chicago River. Work on the new Chicago Sun-Times building is well underway. It opened in 1958. The following years, Field Enterprises bought the Daily News, and this building became its headquarters as well. It is now the site of the Trump International Hotel and Tower. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7200 is turning south from Devon onto Broadway in 1957. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
In September 1957, CTA PCCs 7220 and 7211 pass each other on Clark Street at Delaware near the Newberry Library and Washington Square Park, also known locally as “Bughouse Square.” A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 181 of B-146, mistakenly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7156 heads south on Broadway at Lawrence in Uptown on February 15, 1957, the last day of streetcar service on Broadway. The film Giant, starring James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Taylor, opened in the US on November 24, 1956, and was playing at the Uptown. You can see the Green Mill lounge a bit south of the Uptown. The Riviera Theater would be just out of view to the left here. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 244 of B-146, mistakenly credited to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7164 is northbound on Clark at Addison in July 1957, crossing the Milwaukee Road tracks near Wrigley Field. A version of this photo, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 166 of B-146, incorrectly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7222 by Wrigley Field (Clark and Addison) in July 1957. This picture appears twice in CERA B-146, on the cover and on pages 134 and 167, taken from a duplicate slide. On page 167, it is incorrectly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. This is the original Red Border Kodachrome. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7149, signed for Clark and Schreiber (Devon Station). Note that the route number is 22 with a red slash through it. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
CTA 7211, still in its original paint scheme, heads south at Clark Street and Irving Park Road in September 1957, near the entrance to Graceland Cemetery. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 164 of B-146, where it was incorrectly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
In September 1957, CTA 7160 passes by the Rainbo building at left, located in the 4800 block of north Clark Street. A skating rink opened there that year. To the right, you see St. Boniface Catholic Cemetery. We are looking north. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 162 of B-146, where it was incorrectly credited to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
Although signed for the south portion of Route 36, which was replaced by buses in December 1955, PCC 4406 is actually on Clark and 16th Streets. Since 4406 was used (along with red car 225) on a fantrip on October 21, 1956, my guess is this picture was taken on that day. It was common practice to put incorrect signs up on trips, although on most of the pictures I have seen from that trip, it says “Chartered.” (Robert Heinlein Photo)
Wouldn’t you just know it? Without even realizing it I am sure, someone walked right into Bob Heinlein’s shot in this September 1957 view of CTA PCC 4390 (which would end up being one of the last cars used in June 1958). What to do, but wait for another car to come along, and take another picture (see Heinlein008).
Chicago Aurora and Elgin cars 413 and 453 are looping at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal, sometime between 1953 and 1957. (Robert Heinlein Photo)
We are looking west from the Wells Street Terminal towards the dual bridges over the Chicago River. (Robert Heinlein Collection)
Trackwork near the Met bridge was somewhat complex. Tracks to the right fanned out, leading to the Wells Street Terminal. The tracks at left connected to the Loop “L” via Van Buren Street. (Robert Heinlein Collection)
This is the only photo I have seen that shows the interior of the Met bridge interlocking tower. (Robert Heinlein Collection)
This was scanned from an original North Shore Line 8×10″ nitrate negative, taken circa 1930. Determining the location presented many challenges, yet this has now been determined with the aid of other fans. The car is 714, and it is signed as a Chicago Local on the Shore Line Route. Since the North Shore tracks are not adjacent to the Chicago and North Western, we must be north of North Chicago Junction. We cannot be south of Highland Park, as there is freight present here. A sign on the high-level platform indicates that freight trains have to come to a stop, most likely to make sure part of the platform gets flipped up for the sake of clearances. A similar arrangement existed at high-level stations of the Chicago Aurora and Elgin. As all the Shore Line tracks in Waukegan ran on the street, that pretty much narrows it down to North Chicago. The Thomas J. Killian Plumbing Supply company building at left clinches it, and the location is between 16th and 17th Streets, looking north. The Chicago and North Western’s tracks were a short distance east of here, to the right out of view of this photo. (Robert Heinlein Collection)
This was also scanned from an original North Shore Line 8×10″ nitrate negative, taken at the same time as the previous photo and shows a slightly different view of the same scene. (Robert Heinlein Collection)
The North Shore Line grade crossing at Taylor Avenue in Racine, WI on December 16, 1931. You can see the shadow of the photographer, his view camera, and an assistant. This was scanned from the original 8×10″ negative. (NSL Photo, Robert D. Heinlein Collection)
The view of the North Shore Line tracks, looking south towards 21st Street in Racine, WI on March 11, 1930. Scanned from the original 8×10″ negative. (NSL Photo, Robert D. Heinlein Collection)
A view of the North Shore Line tracks looking north along the Skokie Valley Route near 16th Street in North Chicago on March 22, 1934. Scanned from the original 8×10″ negative. (NSL Photo, Robert D. Heinlein Collection)
The number 4391, in railfan circles, is most widely known as that of the only surviving postwar Chicago PCC streetcar. But this is a different 4391, namely a Chicago Rapid Transit Company “L” car, built circa 1923-24. We see the interior, complete with ads for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and Bayer Aspirin, as it looked on May 27, 1937. Scanned from the original 8×10″ negative. (CRT Photo, Robert D. Heinlein Collection)
The view looking northeast along Lawrence Avenue (4800 N.) at Kimball Avenue (3400 W.) on January 28, 1929, in the Albany Park neighborhood. The Chicago Rapid Transit Company’s Ravenswood “L” Terminal is at right. The Terminal Theater, seen in the distance, was located at 3315 W. Lawrence, and had 2,389 seats. Presumably it took its name from the nearby “L” terminal. It was built by the Ascher Brothers chain and opened on January 7, 1926. It eventually became part of the Balaban and Katz chain, and closed on April 18, 1963. It was also known as the New Terminal, as it had replaced a smaller Terminal Theater nearby, built in 1915. Scanned from the original 8×10″ negative. (CRT Photo, Robert D. Heinlein collection)
It’s not clear exactly where this early 1900s photo was taken, but Greenwood, Franklin, Edinburgh, Columbus, and Seymour are all Indiana communities, located south of Indianapolis. Presumably the interurban shown was the Indiana Public Service, a predecessor of the Indiana Railroad, formed by Samuel Insull in 1930, combining five electric railways. (Robert D. Heinlein Collection)
North Shore Line coach 178 at the Highwood Shops in the mid-1950s. (Robert D. Heinlein Photo)
North Shore Line car 169 is northbound at the Wilmette station in the early-to-mid 1950s. This is now the site of a Panera parking lot. (Robert D. Heinlein Photo)
North Shore Line cars 154, 190, and 155 are stopped by the Lake Forest station on July 24, 1955. This was a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip just prior to the abandonment of the Shore Line Route. (Robert D. Heinlein Photo)
This, and the following photo, were taken at the Mundelein Terminal in December 1960, showing different views of a two-car Skokie Valley Route train with 701 and 719. (Robert D. Heinlein Collection)
A northbound two-car North Shore Line train at Kenosha, WI in December 1960. (Robert D. Heinlein Collection)
North Shore Line 724 heads up a two-car train at 5th Street and Harrison Avenue in Milwaukee on September 24, 1961. (Robert D. Heinlein Photo)
North Shore Line 772 is a southbound Chicago Express on June 9, 1955, on a short stretch of street running in Highland Park. Service on the Shore Line Route would end about six weeks later. (Robert D. Heinlein Photo)
On July 10, 1955, North Shore Line car 409 is at the north end of the Shore Line Route, on the border between North Chicago and Waukegan. This car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. Service on the Shore Line Route ended about two weeks after this picture was taken. (Robert D. Heinlein Photo)
Family was very important to Robert Heinlein, and often accompanied him on his railroad excursions. Here, his young daughter Donna poses for him on a North Shore coach at the Mundelein Terminal on December 1, 1962.
Although this photo has motion blur, it does help identify the location of the next picture, taken right after it. North Shore car 163 is at the front of a two-car train in Kenilworth, about a block north of the historic fountain designed by George W. Maher. It is leaving street running and entering private right-of-way where it will run parallel to the Chicago and North Western. (Robert D. Heinlein Photos)
North Shore Line Silverliner 756 is on the Skokie Valley Route, but where? The Kutten Oil Company was located at 3510 Wilmette Avenue in Wilmette, near Glenview. Robert D. Heinlein took this picture on September 1, 1958.
Knollwood was a stop along the Libertyville-Mundelein branch, named for a nearby farm. This is in an unincorporated area of Lake County, just west of Lake Bluff, at the intersection of Waukegan Road and Rockland Road. The train, which includes car 712, is heading east. The popular Silo restaurant is not too far east of here in Lake Bluff. Photographer Robert D. Heinlein captured this view on June 17, 1962.
The same location today.
This slide was taken early in the morning, and had to be lightened considerably. It was dated January 21, 1963 on the mount, but may actually have been taken on the 20th (the film was not processed until the following month). As such it was one of the final opportunities to shoot an Electroliner at the Milwaukee Terminal, which prompted one fan to jump into the inspection pit for his shot. (Robert D. Heinlein Photo)
This slide, showing a southbound North Shore Line Electroliner at speed, was marked as having been taken January 21, 1963 at Washington Street in Waukegan. That would place it after the abandonment the night before, but it seems likely to have been taken on the last full day prior to the shutdown, January 20th. Research shows the two Electroliners were moved back to the Highwood Shops one last time at night. Since this roll of film was not developed until the following month, the date was stamped on the slide mount some time after the fact. (Robert D. Heinlein Photo)
North Shore Line 747 is at the head of a train at Lake Bluff, signed as a Skokie Valley Route Chicago Limited. This slide was marked January 21, 1963, but is more likely to have been taken the day before. (Robert D. Heinlein Photo)
Illinois Terminal car 285 is on the last trip at Champaign, IL on June 11, 1955. Don’s Rail Photos (via Archive.org): “285 was built by St Louis Car in 1914. It was rebuilt as a parlor car in 1924 and restored as a coach in December 1928. It was air conditioned in August 1938 and (received) new seating in December 1952. It was sold for scrap to Hyman Michaels Co. on May 16, 1956.” (John F. Humiston Photo, Robert D. Heinlein Collection)
Illinois Terminal 285 is at Cerro Gordo, IL on its last trip prior to abandonment of this interurban route on June 11, 1955. For the occasion, locals dressed up in turn-of-the-century costumes. Some of the riders may have been old enough to remember when interurban service began here. (John F. Humiston Photo, Robert Heinlein Collection)
Illinois Terminal 285 is at Champaign, IL on its last trip on June 11, 1955. (John F. Humiston Photo, Robert Heinlein Collection)
This and the next picture: The Elgin and Belvidere Electric Company interurban operated from 1907 to 1930, connecting those two cities. It was extended to Rockford in 1927 but fell victim to the Great Depression and the rise of the automobile. When the Illinois Railway Museum (originally based in North Chicago) needed a new home in the early 1960s, they based their new main line on this former interurban right-of-way (and were able to purchase most, but not all of it by paying the back taxes). Amazingly, one of the original Elgin and Belvidere motormen lived long enough to operate a trolley at IRM. (Robert D. Heinlein Collection)
Work is underway erecting trolley poles at the Illinois Railway Museum site in Union. The time frame here could date from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. (Robert D. Heinlein Photo)
Former North Shore Line line car 604 at work one wintry day at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert D. Heinlein Photo)
Indiana Railroad high-speed lightweight interurban car 65 at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert D. Heinlein Photo)
Two trains running at the Illinois Railway Museum, circa 1971. At left, North Shore Line cars 160 and 714. The steam loco at right is labeled Tuskegee, but I am not sure if this is the Tuskegee Railroad 101 in the museum’s collection. (Robert D. Heinlein Photo)
Bob Heinlein and his brother Don at East Troy in May 2022.
Our Latest Book, Now Available:
The North Shore Line
FYI, my new Arcadia Publishing book The North Shore Line is now available for immediate shipment. My publisher decided to expand it to 160 pages, instead of the usual 128. That’s a 25% increase, without any change to the $23.99 price. I am quite pleased with how this turned out.
From the back cover:
As late as 1963, it was possible to board high-speed electric trains on Chicago’s famous Loop “L” that ran 90 miles north to Milwaukee. This was the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad, commonly known as the North Shore Line. It rose from humble origins in the 1890s as a local streetcar line in Waukegan to eventually become America’s fastest interurban under the visionary management of Midwest utilities tycoon Samuel Insull. The North Shore Line, under Insull, became a worthy competitor to the established steam railroads. Hobbled by the Great Depression, the road fought back in 1941 with two streamlined, air-conditioned, articulated trains called Electroliners, which included dining service. It regained its popularity during World War II, when gasoline and tires were rationed, but eventually, it fell victim to highways and the automobile. The North Shore Line had intercity rail, commuter rail, electric freight, city streetcars, and even buses. It has been gone for nearly 60 years, but it will always remain the Road of Service.
Each copy purchased here will be signed by the author, and you will also receive a bonus North Shore Line map. Books will ship by USPS Media Mail.
Chapters: 01. Beginnings 02. The Milwaukee Division 03. The Shore Line Route 04. The Skokie Valley Route 05. The Mundelein Branch 06. On the “L” 07. City Streetcars 08. Trolley Freight 09. The Long Goodbye 10. The Legacy
Title The North Shore Line
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2023
ISBN 1467108960, 978-1467108966
Length 160 pages
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
For Shipping to US Addresses:
New Compact Disc, Now Available:
The Last Chicago Streetcars 1958
# of Discs – 1
Until now, it seemed as though audio recordings of Chicago streetcars were practically non-existent. For whatever reason, the late William A. Steventon does not appear to have made any for his Railroad Record Club, even though he did make other recordings in the Chicago area in 1956.
Now, audio recordings of the last runs of Chicago streetcars have been found, in the collections of the late Jeffrey L. Wien (who was one of the riders on that last car). We do not know who made these recordings, but this must have been done using a portable reel-to-reel machine.
These important recordings will finally fill a gap in transit history. The last Chicago Transit Authority streetcar finished its run in the early hours of June 21, 1958. Now you can experience these events just as Chicagoans did.
As a bonus, we have included Keeping Pace, a 1939 Chicago Surface Lines employee training program. This was digitally transferred from an original 16” transcription disc. These recordings were unheard for 80 years.
Total time – 74:38
Help Support The Trolley Dodger
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An early (turn of the century) view of passengers boarding an Illinois Central Suburban train before the line was converted from steam to electric in 1926. I am not certain of the location, but it may be in Hyde Park.
Today, we are ringing in 2023 with a bevy of classic traction images from many far-flung places for your enjoyment.
Later this month, the Trolley Dodger blog will begin its ninth year. This year, we expect to make our 300th post, and will reach one million page views. When we began this journey, these things hardly seemed possible, but here we are, in large part thanks to you, our readers.
January is traditionally the month when we ask our readers for donations to keep this site going. If you enjoy what you see here, we hope you will consider making a contribution via the link at the end of this post. The expenses we incur, in order to bring you the finest and most interesting traction pictures, are considerable and ongoing. Our research costs a lot, but you see the results here and in our four Arcadia Publishing books, which we hope make a modest contribution to society. If you have contributed to our efforts, we are most appreciative, and if you have not, we hope you will consider it.
We are pleased to report that our latest book The North Shore Line is now 100% complete and has gone to press. The publication date is February 20, 2023, and we are now taking pre-orders. You will find more information about that at the end of this post (and our Online Store). To date, we have received orders for 102 copies.
Our friend Kenneth Gear now has a Facebook group for the Railroad Record Club. If you enjoy listening to audio recordings of classic railroad trains, whether steam, electric, or diesel, you might consider joining.
FYI, the Hoosier Traction Facebook Group celebrates electric transit in Indiana and the Midwest. It also supports the activities of the annual Hoosier Traction Meet in Dayton, OH (although not affiliated with the North American Transit Historical Society, which organizes that event).
Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car 71 is at the Indianapolis Terminal on August 11, 1940.
Indiana Railroad high-speed car 58 (described as a “parlor car”) is at the Indianapolis Terminal yards on August 11, 1940.
Philadelphia streetcar 8026 is at Church Road in Glenside, PA on February 22, 1941, operating on Route 6.
CTA/CSL 7001 and 4001 at South Shops, circa 1958. This was scanned from a red border Kodachrome slide, and by early 1958, those mounts were replaced by more modern ones. In the last days of Chicago streetcars, there were some PCCs in dead storage due to accidents or mechanical issues. The red car at right is a trailer in the 8000-series. The body of 4001 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum, but 7001 was scrapped in 1959.
North shore Line 721 is at the back end of a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip that is making a photo stop at the Zion station.
North Shore Line freight loco 451. Don’s Rail Photos notes, “451 was built in 1907 by Alco, #44387, and General Electric, #2697. It was retired in February 1948 and sold for scrap in March 1949.”
Ravinia Park was built by the Chicago and Milwaukee Electric, predecessor of the North Shore Line. Here is a view of the original music pavilion.
There was once an A branch on the MBTA Green Line in Boston– the Watertown line, which shared some trackage with the B branch to Boston College. PCC streetcars were replaced by buses on June 20, 1969, and this photo by Robert A. Newbegin was taken that same month. Various reasons have been cited for the change, including an equipment shortage. But this view in the Newton Corner neighborhood shows another issue– the inbound PCC, shown crossing over a highway, is going against the flow of one way traffic. Still, this trackage remained in place until 1994, for non-revenue streetcar access to Watertown Yard.
Kansas City Public Service PCC 535 on the Dodson line. The type of slide mount for this red border Kodachrome dates it to circa 1955-57. Car 535 was built by the St. Louis Car Company in 1947, and Kansas City abandoned streetcars in 1957. They have since opened modern streetcar lines.
Illinois Terminal car 415 at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago on February 21, 1960.
The view looking west along Van Bure Street under the Loop “L” on July 24, 1957. The “L” went further west from here until 1955, when a new connection was built through the old Wells Street Terminal a short distance north of here. The Insurance Exchange building is at right.
Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow) car 63 has turned north at Llanerch Junction on May 30, 1964. It was most likely operating on the Ardmore line, which was converted to bus on December 30, 1966. Kenneth Achtert adds, “PSTC #63 is indeed on the Ardmore Division (having just turned off of West Chester Pike) probably on a fantrip, as May 30, 1964, was a Saturday (and Memorial Day weekend).”
SEPTA (Red Arrow) double-ended car 19 at the 69th Street Terminal storage yard on August 9, 1971. It was built by the St. Louis Car Company in 1949, and although it looks like a PCC car, it is not considered one, as it has standard motor components.
A North Shore Line Electroliner heads southbound at North Chicago Junction on January 12, 1963, just over a week prior to abandonment.
Chicago Aurora and Elgin freight loco 2002 at Wheaton on August 6, 1939. Scanned from the original negative. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)
Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 130 (ex-North shore Line) on April 13, 1943. (Malcolm D. McCarter Photo)
Chicago Aurora and Elgin 600 (ex-Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis) and line car 5, on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip.
This time card for the Batavia branch of the Aurora, Eglin and Chicago (predecessor of the CA&E) dates to 1905, when the interurban began running trains to downtown Chicago over the Metropolitan West side “L”.
Chicago Aurora and Elgin steel cars 412 and 416 are at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal in Forest Park on July 23, 1955. After CA&E cut back service to here in 1953, riders could make a cross-platform change to ride the CTA Garfield Park “L” downtown, after paying another fare.
Chicago Aurora and Elgin 416 at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal in Forest Park on July 23, 1955. This is the view from the opposite direction as the last photo. There were two sets of platforms. The CA&E dropped off passengers at one platform, then traveled a short distance to pick others up at the other platform. CTA trains looped via a wooden trestle that went over the CA&E just west of here. This arrangement continued until the CA&E abruptly abandoned passenger service in the middle of the day on July 3, 1957. The CTA reconfigured the terminal and yard area in 1959, in conjunction with construction of the nearby expressway.
Lehigh Valley Transit
During the first half of the 20th century, Lehigh Valley Transit operated an interurban line known as teh Liberty Bell route between Allentown, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia. 42 miles of the route were on LVT trackage, with the remaining 13 miles going into Philadelphia via shared trackage on the Philadelphia and Western.
The line ran through a lot of farmland and open areas, with numerous stops in small towns along the way. Several of the station buildings still exist.
The Liberty Bell line is considered one of the classic American interurbans, and had somewhat of a Midwestern character despite being located in Pennsylvania. Like many other interurbans, it fell into a decline due to the Great Depression and the rise of the automobile, but rather than pack it in, LVT decided to modernize in 1938. Several lightweight high speed cars were purchased second hand and helped keep the line going for more than a dozen additional years.
Traffic was good during World War II, but went into an irreversible decline after the war. With new highways siphoning off traffic, the interurban had no future and was abandoned in 1951. Even the replacement bus service did not last.
Here are some classic views of LVT interurbans and city streetcars. Nearly all were scanned from original negatives or slides.
A Lehigh Valley Transit lightweight high-speed car is southbound on the Philadelphia and Western, crossing over Matson Ford Road, approaching Conshohocken Road station in January 1947. (David H. Cope Photo)
A Liberty Bell Limited train leaving Allentown, PA. The interurban ran to Philadelphia until 1949, partially via the Philadelphia and Western. For the last two years, service was cut back to Norristown until the 1951 abandonment.
Some Lehigh Valley Transit freight motors are at the Philadelphia and Western’s Norristown Terminal on a foggy day. The P&W connected with the Liberty Bell interurban route that continued to Allentown until 1951.
LVT 1023 (at left) has just passed another car on the streets of Norristown. The Pennsylvania license plate on the auto would indicate we are in an odd-numbered year (1947, 1949, or 1951). Kenneth Achtert: “#1023 is on Marshall siding with the Reading Railroad Elm Street yard to the right.”
LVT 1030 at the Allentown depot.
LVT 1023 at the Allentown depot.
Lehigh Valley Transit’s Liberty Bell interurban was abandoned in September 1951, but the company still had various streetcar lines in the Allentown and Bethlehem area that continued. Here, we see LVT 357, operating on a stretch of Gillmore Street line private right of way known as the “Race Track.” This picture was taken on October 26, 1952, the last day of streetcar service on the South Bethlehem Division (and there is a notice of the service change on the telephone pole at right). The last LVT streetcar ran in 1953.
LVT 963 passes a Liberty Bell car at the Allentown depot, while passengers board for the trip to Philadelphia.
An LVT Liberty Bell car is on a passing siding in Norristown, adjacent to a Reading Railroad yard for its electrified commuter rail service to Philadelphia. While the Liberty Bell line is long gone, commuter rail service to Norristown continues under SEPTA. Kenneth Achtert adds, “on Marshall siding NB with (Reading Railroad) Elm Street yard to the right.”
LVT city streetcar 908, signed for Fullerton. Don’s Rail Photos: “908 was built by Brill Car Co in February 1917, #20206. It was rebuilt.”
LVT 917, signed for the South Bethlehem route. Don’s Rail Photos: “917 was built by Brill Car Co in February 1917, #20206. It was rebuilt.”
A southbound LVT Liberty Bell car on 8th Street crosses Walnut Street in Allentown.
LVT Liberty Bell car 1005. Don’s Rail Photos: “1005 was built by Cincinnati Car in June 1930, #3050, as C&LE 123. It was sold to LVT as 1005 in 1938 and scrapped in 1952.”
LVT city streetcar 924. It was built by Brill, around the time 1917-1919.
LVT city streetcar 927, signed for Albright. Don’s Rail Photos: “927 was built by Brill Car Co in February 1919, #20706. It was rebuilt.”
LVT city streetcars 908 (at right), and possibly 413 at left.
LVT city streetcar 908, signed for Albright.
This is an amazing photograph. LVT 1001 is northbound in Norristown, passing the Rambo House Hotel. I assume this was a short distance from where the Liberty Bell met the Philadelphia and Western line. There is a circa 1950-51 Ford parked at right. The car sign just says Express instead of Philadelphia Express, as LVT cut back passenger service to Norristown in 1949. Their fleet of second-hand high speed cars was wearing out, in part due to having to climb hills in Pennsylvania, instead of the flat Midwest prairies they were designed to traverse. The car at left may have a 1951 Pennsylvania license plate, indicating this picture may have been taken shortly before the abandonment of rail service.
This picture was taken at the same location, and same time, as the previous image. We are in Norristown on Swede St. with Airy St. in the background, not far from the point where the LVT Liberty Bell line met the Philadelphia and Western. LVT 1002 is an outbound Allentown Limited. Kenneth Achtert: “#1002 is not yet headed to Allentown, but is backing up on Swede St. about to turn onto Airy St. (note that the front-end pole is up). These single-ended cars would unload at the Norristown Terminal (after through operation was halted) then would back up the 3-4 blocks on Swede and Airy Streets to Rink Loop, back around the loop, then back to the Terminal (now facing north) for the trip to Allentown.”
LVT 1021 is operating as a northbound Allentown Limited. Most of the Liberty Bell route was single tracked, with passing sidings. This is Acorn Siding, located by Normandy Farms in Blue Bell, PA.
The photographer took this picture while riding in a southbound Liberty Bell train on Markley Street in Norristown. Most of this was single track and we are on a passing siding. The northbound car approaching us could be 1021, and the picture probably dates to 1949-51, as the sign on the approaching car does not say Philadelphia. The Reading Company’s Elm Street commuter train station is off to the right.
This LVT Philadelphia Limited car is at Nace Siding, which Wikipedia says was “in open country just north of Souderton and the Souderton carbarn.”
Another picture at Nace Siding. The car is LVT 1008.
This LVT car is signed as a Norristown Local, which dates the picture to circa 1949-51. Not sure of the exact house number location on Airy Street in Norristown, but it has just crossed Cherry Street.
A rear end view of LVT 1030 on Airy Street in Norristown, about to turn onto Swede Street towards the Philadelphia and Western station. As this car originally came from the Indiana Railroad, it was slightly different than the other lightweight high-speed cars, which started out as Cincinnati and Lake Erie “Red Devils.” The IR cars were designed for multiple-unit operation, while the C&LE cars were not. Therefore, car 1030 had a more squared off back end. The C&LE cars were more rounded.
Another shot of LVT 908, signed for Fullerton.
Original Slides For Sale
My friend Jeff Wien passed away nearly two years ago, and I inherited his extensive slide collection, which takes up a lot of space. His interests were very wide-ranging, far more so than mine. One of my resolutions for 2023 is to start going through this collection systematically and decide what to keep, and add to my own collection. Simply leaving all these slides in boxes does not do anyone any good.
It is a fact of life that you can’t keep everything and you can’t take it with you. Since the Trolley Dodger blog has ongoing expenses, and my book projects cost real money, I have decided to sell some of these slides to help defray expenses and de-clutter. Here are the first 30 slides I have listed on eBay. The process of going through these will take several years. I can still post the scanned images to the blog, as I have done below.
Most of the slides below were taken by the late James J. Buckley (1918-1994), who was an excellent photographer.
We continue to purchase prints, slides, and negatives for what we consider our core collection, which we hope will eventually end up at a proper institution that can make good use of it. Those things that do not fit into our core collection can be sold, and the proceeds will help in our overall efforts.
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad 1974 Original 35mm Kodachrome Slide Subject: CRI&P 652-610-654 and 14 cars on train 5, intercity service to Rock Island, IL Location: Chicago IL Date: May 4, 1974 Photographer: James J. Buckley This is slide EBA030 in our internal filing system. From the Wikipedia: By the time Amtrak was formed in 1971, the once-proud Rock Island was down to just two intercity trains, the Chicago-Peoria Peoria Rocket and the Chicago-Rock Island Quad Cities Rocket, both of which now operated entirely within the borders of Illinois. However, the Rock Island opted against joining Amtrak, in part because the government assessed the Amtrak entrance fee based upon passenger miles operated in 1970. After concluding that the cost of joining would be greater than remaining in the passenger business, the railroad decided to “perform a public service for the state of Illinois” and continue intercity passenger operations. To help manage the service, the Rock Island hired National Association of Railroad Passengers founder Anthony Haswell as managing director of passenger services. The last two trains plied the Rock Island’s Illinois Division as the track quality declined from 1971 through 1977. The transit times, once a speedy 2½ hours in the 1950s, had lengthened to a 4½ hour run by 1975. The State of Illinois continued to subsidize the service to keep it running. The track program of 1978 helped with main-line timekeeping, although the Rock Island’s management decreed that the two trains were not to delay freight traffic on the route. By this time, both once-proud trains were down to just two coaches, powered by EMD E8 locomotives entering their second decade of service. With the trains frequently running with as many paying passengers as coaches in the train, Illinois withdrew its subsidy, and the two trains made their final runs on December 31, 1978. Link to eBay Listing
Santa Teresa Tram Rio de Janeiro Original 1974 35mm Kodachrome Slide Subject: CTCG 6 Location: Carioca (R10) Date: March 17, 1974 Photographer: James J. Buckley Link to eBay Listing
Amtrak Conrail Train Valpo Local 1971 Original 35mm Kodachrome Slide Subject: CR 5780-5603 plus 3 commuter train to Valparaiso, IN Location: Chicago IL Date: May 14, 1977 Photographer: James J. Buckley From the Wikipedia: The Calumet, also commonly called the Valpo Local, was a 43.6-mile (70.2 km) passenger train route operated by Amtrak between Chicago and Valparaiso, Indiana. Despite Amtrak’s mandate to provide only intercity service, the Calumet was a commuter train. Transferred from Conrail in 1979, the full route was shared with Amtrak’s Broadway Limited until 1990; the Calumet was discontinued the next year. Link to eBay Listing
Bolton Tram 66 Original 1985 35mm Kodachrome Slide UK Subject: Bolton Tram 66 Location: Fleetwood (on Blackpool Tramway, UK) Date: July 14, 1985 Photographer: James J. Buckley From The Bolton News: The Bolton 66 tramcar was built in 1901 as an open top eight-wheel double deck bogie tram by the Electric Railway and Tramway Carriage Works in Preston. Bolton 66, the only tram in Blackpool Transport’s Heritage Tramcar fleet which does not originate in Blackpool, is well over one hundred years old and is still in good running order but that has not always been the case. At the beginning of the 1960’s, Alan Ralphs and Bolton-born Derek Shepherd took the decision to attempt to restore the Bolton tramcar. After more than 40 years serving the people of Bolton, the tramcar spent twenty years as a semi derelict bodyshell on a farm on the moors above Bolton. However, with lots of enthusiasm, a group led by the duo, professional electrical engineer Derek Shepherd and supported by Alan Ralphs, spent many hours to completely restore the tram to a new condition taking them 18 years to complete. In June 1981 the tram was moved to Blackpool and started to operate on the seafront, where it has remained for the last 41 years, due to Covid the 40th anniversary was postponed until this year. Link to eBay Listing
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad 1971 Original 35mm Kodachrome Slide Subject: CRI&P 664 and 6 cars, commuter train to Blue Island Location: 47th Street, Chicago IL Date: September 8, 1971 Photographer: James J. Buckley From the Wikipedia: Chicago commuter service The Rock Island also operated an extensive commuter train service in the Chicago area. The primary route ran from LaSalle Street Station to Joliet along the main line, and a spur line, known as the “Suburban Line” to Blue Island. The main-line trains supplanted the long-distance services that did not stop at the numerous stations on that route. The Suburban Line served the Beverly Hills area of Chicago as a branch leaving the main line at Gresham and heading due west, paralleling the Baltimore and Ohio Chicago Terminal Railroad passenger line before turning south. The Suburban Line made stops every four blocks along the way before rejoining the main line at Western Avenue Junction in Blue Island. From the 1920s on, the suburban services were operated using Pacific-type 4-6-2 locomotives and specially designed light-heavyweight coaches that with their late 1920s build dates became known as the “Capone” cars. The suburban service became well known in the diesel era, as the steam power was replaced, first with new EMD FP7s and ALCO RS-3s, with two Fairbanks-Morse units added later. In 1949, Pullman-built 2700-series cars arrived as the first air-conditioned commuter cars on the line. In the 1960s, the Rock Island tried to upgrade the suburban service with newer equipment at lower cost. Second-hand Aerotrains, while less than successful in intercity service, were purchased to provide further air-conditioned accommodations that had proven popular with the 2700 series cars. When the Milwaukee Road purchased new Budd Company stainless-steel, bilevel cars in 1961, the Rock Island elected to add to a subsequent order and took delivery of its first bilevel equipment in 1964. Power for these new cars was provided by orphaned passenger units: three EMD F7s, an EMD E6, and the two EMD AB6s. The engines were rebuilt with head end power to provide heat, air conditioning, and lighting for the new cars. In 1970, another order, this time for Pullman-built bilevel cars arrived to further supplement the fleet. To provide the power for these cars, several former Union Pacific EMD E8 and EMD E9 diesels were also rebuilt with head end power and added to the commuter pool. The outdoor passenger concourse and platforms of LaSalle Street Station as built and operated by Metra. The trains shown are commuter runs to Blue Island and Joliet, Illinois. The commuter service was not exempt from the general decline of the Rock Island through the 1970s. Over time, deferred maintenance took its toll on both track and rolling stock. On the Rock Island, the Capone cars were entering their sixth decade of service and the nearly 30-year-old 2700s suffered from severe corrosion due to the steel used in their construction. LaSalle Street Station, the service’s downtown terminal, suffered from neglect and urban decay with the slab roof of the train shed literally falling apart, requiring its removal. By this time, the Rock Island could not afford to replace the clearly worn-out equipment. In 1976, the entire Chicago commuter rail system began to receive financial support from the state of Illinois through the Regional Transportation Authority. Operating funds were disbursed to all commuter operators, and the Rock Island was to be provided with new equipment to replace the tired 2700 series and Capone cars. New Budd bilevels that were near copies of the 1961 Milwaukee Road cars arrived in 1978. New EMD F40PH units arrived in late 1977 and, in summer, 1978, briefly could be seen hauling Capone cars. The Rock Island’s commuter F and E units were relegated to freight service or the scrapyard. With the 1980 end of the Rock Island, the RTA purchased the suburban territory and remaining Rock Island commuter equipment from the estate, while the Chicago and North Western Railway took over operations for a year before the RTA began operating it directly in 1981. LaSalle Street Station was torn down and replaced with the Chicago Stock Exchange building, with a smaller commuter station located one block south of the old station. The RTA gradually rebuilt the track and added more new equipment to the service, leaving the property in better shape than it was in the Rock Island’s heyday, albeit with less track. The Rock Island District, as the Rock Island’s suburban service is now known, now operates as part of Metra, the Chicago commuter rail agency. Our resident South Side expert M.E. adds, “Your (or maybe the Wikipedia) text says “The Suburban Line served the Beverly Hills area of Chicago as a branch leaving the main line at Gresham and heading due west, paralleling the Baltimore and Ohio Chicago Terminal Railroad passenger line before turning south.” The wording “paralleling the B&OCT RR passenger line” is not precise. On a sheet of paper, maybe the CRI&P and the B&OCT ran parallel, but in reality, they shared the ground-level trackage for about a mile. The CRI&P’s first station on the Suburban Line (after leaving the Main Line) was at 89th and Loomis (1400 W.). It was (and still is) called Brainerd. One block of Loomis, between 89th and 90th Sts., became a business district. Just as the commuter lines to the north and west saw the development of business districts around commuter train stations, the CRI&P Suburban Line brought about business districts at Brainerd, 95th St., 99th St., 103rd St., and 111th St. At the western end of that shared mile, about a block west of Ashland Ave. (1600 W.), the B&OCT turned north while the CRI&P turned south. At the eastern end of the shared mile, a few blocks west of Vincennes (which at that point was about 1000 W.), the B&OCT kept going east while the CRI&P Suburban Line ascended to the Main Line and turned north. Way back (I’m talking about 1950 and earlier), the Halsted St. streetcar line went south on Vincennes, eventually ending at 111th and Sacramento (3000 W.) where it served a row of cemeteries along 111th. Southbound along Vincennes, at 89th St., having just gone under the CRI&P overhead Suburban Line junction with the Main Line, the streetcar line diverged from the street itself onto its own private right-of-way adjacent to the CRI&P Main Line. So 89th and Vincennes was at one time a nice place to watch railroad and streetcar activity.” Link to eBay Listing
Amtrak Turboliner RTG 1978 Original 35mm Kodachrome Slide Subject: Amtrak RTG 6715, train 334 Location: Chicago, IL on route to Milwaukee Date: April 15, 1978 Photographer: James J. Buckley Link to eBay Listing
mtrak RDC Train 1974 Original 35mm Kodachrome Slide Subject: Amtrak RDCs 31-30-10, Train 370 Location: Cicero, IL (between Dubuque and Chicago) Date: June 24, 1974 Photographer: James J. Buckley Link to eBay Listing
Santa Teresa Tram Rio de Janeiro Original 1974 35mm Kodachrome Slide Subject: CTCG 7 Location: Carioca (R10) Date: March 17, 1974 Photographer: James J. Buckley From the Wikipedia: The Santa Teresa Tram, or Tramway (Portuguese: Bonde de Santa Teresa, IPA: [bõˈdʒi dʒi ˈsɐ̃tɐ teˈɾezɐ]), is a historic tram line in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It connects the city centre with the primarily residential, inner-city neighbourhood of Santa Teresa, in the hills immediately southwest of downtown. It is mainly maintained as a tourist attraction and is nowadays considered a heritage tramway system, having been designated a national historic monument in 1985. The line has a very unusual gauge: 1,100 mm (3 ft 7+5⁄16 in). The main line is 6.0 kilometres (3.7 miles) long. Having run continuously since its opening in 1877 (except for a 2011–15 suspension), it is one of the oldest street railway lines in the world and having been electrically powered since 1896, it is the oldest electric railway in all of Latin America. For many years it was also the only remaining metropolitan tram system in Brazil. The only other original tram systems in the country to have survived past 1971 are the Campos do Jordão interurban tram/light rail line, which continues to operate today, and the Itatinga line (near Bertioga), a rural and non-public tram line which had ceased operation as a tramway by 2017. All other cities closed their systems by 1971 (Santos being the last), but since that time, three towns, Belém, Campinas and Santos, have reinstated trams as heritage services. Rio de Janeiro opened a modern light rail/tram system in 2016. Link to eBay Listing
Pittsburgh PAT PCC 1751 1974 35mm Kodachrome Slide Subject: Pittsburgh PAT PCC 1751 Location: Broadway near Neeld, Beechview, 42/38 route Date: May 21, 1974 Photographer: James J. Buckley Link to eBay Link
Santos Tramways São Paulo Brazil Original 1965 35mm Kodachrome Slide Subject: Serviço Municipal de Transportes Coletivos car 216 Location: Santos Date: March 12, 1965 Photographer: James J. Buckley Link to eBay Listing
Amtrak Turboliner RTG 1974 Original 35mm Kodachrome Slide Subject: Amtrak RTG 63-95-94-93-62 Location: Bloomington IL (on Chicago-St. Louis route) Date: November 2, 1974 Photographer: James J. Buckley Amtrak took over much of the nation’s rail passenger service in 1971, and the Turboliners were an attempt to modernize. Ultimately, they proved unsuccessful for a variety of reasons, and were withdrawn from service in 1981. Some were rebuilt and were used in the Northeast Corridor from 1988-1994. Link to eBay Listing
Milwaukee Road Electrification E71 1970 Original 35mm Kodachrome Slide Subject: Milwaukee Road E71 Location: East end of Butte, MT yard Date: October 2, 1970 Photographer: Unknown The Milwaukee Road operated an extensive system of electric freight in its Pacific Extension in the northwestern United States between 1914 and 1974. Link to eBay Listing
Southern Pacific 4449 Steam Loco “Daylight” 1991 Original 35mm Kodachrome Slide Subject: SP 4449 Location: Benecia Date: May 17, 1991 Photographer: Unknown From the Wikipedia: Southern Pacific 4449, also known as the Daylight, is the only surviving example of Southern Pacific Railroad’s “GS-4” class of 4-8-4 “Northern” type steam locomotives and one of only two GS-class locomotives surviving, the other being “GS-6” 4460 at the National Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, Missouri. GS is an abbreviation of “General Service” or “Golden State,” a nickname for California (where the locomotive was operated in regular service). The locomotive was built by Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio for the Southern Pacific in May 1941; it received the red-and-orange “Daylight” paint scheme for the passenger trains of the same name which it hauled for most of its service career. No. 4449 was retired from revenue service in 1956 and put into storage. In 1958, the Southern Pacific donated the locomotive to the City of Portland, Oregon. The City then put the locomotive on static display in Oaks Amusement Park, where it remained until 1974. After this, No. 4449 was then restored to operation for use in the American Freedom Train, which toured the 48 contiguous United States as part of the nation’s 1976 Bicentennial celebration. The locomotive has operated in excursion service throughout that area since 1984. The locomotive’s operations are based at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center in Portland, Oregon where it is maintained by a group of volunteers named the Friends of SP 4449. In 1983, a poll of Trains magazine readers selected 4449 as being the most popular locomotive in the United States. Link to eBay Listing
Southern Pacific 4449 Steam Loco “Daylight” 1984 Original 35mm Kodachrome Slide Subject: SP 4449 Location: Unknown Date: May 8, 1984 Photographer: Unknown Link to eBay Listing