Chicago postwar PCC 7216 is shown heading south on Clark at Harrison on March 11, 1958. I was attracted to this shot since the woman and child who are about to board could just as well be me and my mother at that time. (Photo by A. Goddard)
June 21st marks 60 years since the last Chicago streetcar ran. If you consider that 80 years is, perhaps, about an average lifespan, that means 3/4ths of such a time has now passed since that historic event.
The number of people still living who rode Chicago streetcars is dwindling, and is certainly only a small fraction of the current population. At age 63, I must be among the youngest people who can say they rode a Chicago streetcar on the streets of Chicago, much less remember it.
But the number of people who have taken a ride on a Chicago streetcar does increase, since there are a number of them that are operable at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union. The Seashore Trolley Museum (Kennebunkport, ME) has another car (225) that is operated infrequently.
The experience of riding at a railway museum is, of necessity, somewhat different than what people experienced 60+ years ago on the streets of Chicago. However, as a “streetcar renaissance” is underway across the country in various cities, the number of track miles in city streets has been increasing. In those places, it is possible to experience something more like what Chicago once had.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin will soon join that list, just 90 miles north of Chicago. After a similar 60-year gap in streetcar service, their first new line, aka “The Hop,” is expected to begin service mid-November. (You can read our recent update here. Since our article appeared, the new cars have begun testing out on the streets.)
Interestingly, a heritage trolley recently began service in Rockford, Illinois, which is also about 90 miles from Chicago.
For the past 18 years, Kenosha, Wisconsin (about 65 miles from Chicago) has operated a tourist trolley, which you can even reach using Metra‘s Union Pacific North Line.
Perhaps the streetcar line that would offer a ride closest to what Chicagoans could once experience, however, is the SEPTA #15 Girard Avenue line in Philadelphia, which is operated with modernized PCC cars.
I can also recommend the Muni F-Market and Wharves line in San Francisco, which operates using a variety of historic equipment.
Anyway you look at it, this anniversary is a good excuse to feature some classic Chicago traction photos, which we hope you will enjoy.
But wait– there’s more!
June 22, 1958 is another important date in Chicago transit history. 60 years ago, a new CTA rapid transit line opened in the median of the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway. This line, also known as the “West Side Subway,” replaced the Garfield Park “L” and was the culmination of plans made 20 years before.
Another important anniversary is approaching on October 17th– the 75th anniversary of the opening of Chicago’s first subway. In December, it will be 80 years since subway construction began.
For these reasons, and more, we have written a new book called Building Chicago’s Subways, to be released by Arcadia Publishing this October 1st. Information about how to pre-order this book appears further down in this post.
The idea for Building Chicago’s Subways first came to me a few years ago, when I realized these important anniversaries were approaching. A few months after the publication of Chicago Trolleys last fall, I pitched the idea to Arcadia, and that is when the real work began.
Much additional research had to be done. I read everything I could find on the subject. Photos came from my own collections and those of other collectors, who have graciously permitted their use in this project.
Here is a short description of the book:
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!
The story goes back much further than that… before there were rapid transit tunnels, there were tunnels under the Chicago River, used by cable cars and streetcars. In the early 1900s, private enterprise built an extensive system of freight tunnels under the downtown area. And there was about 40 years of wrangling over what kind of subway to build, where to build it, and who should pay for it.
I found it a fascinating tale, and am gratified that I have been able to complete this new book in time for the anniversary, and within the living memory of Chicagoans who were here to witness these events 75 long years ago. The State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee and West Side Subways have changed life for everyday Chicagoans forever.
PS- The Chicago Transit Authority posted this excellent video showing the last run of car 7213 in the early morning hours of June 21, 1958 (the June 22 date in the video is not correct):
Jeffrey L. Wien and I, along with the late Bradley Criss, collaborated on the book Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958, published in 2015 as Bulletin 146 of the Central Electric Railfans’ Association.
For this anniversary, I asked Mr. Wien, who rode on the last Chicago streetcar, to reminisce for our readers:
Today, June 21, 2018, marks the 60th anniversary of my ride on the Last Chicago Streetcar with my high school friend Greer Nielsen. Thinking back 60 years I recall that it was a very melancholy event, one that remained in my mind for the rest of my life.
Thinking back 60 years can be a challenging task, but I do remember that it was a warm and muggy night on that last ride. CTA PCC 7213 was the last car on the shortened route 22 Wentworth line. The last run south from Clark and Kinzie began around 4am. There were probably at least 100 people crammed into that car so that they could say that they rode the Last Chicago Streetcar. As the car headed south through the Loop headed to 81st and Halsted, the group was quite loud and raucous, but as we went farther and farther south, the crowd quieted down, perhaps because we wanted to hear the sound of the streetcar in the streets of Chicago for the very last time.
When we arrived at 81st and Halsted, everyone got off the car for photos, private and official, and then reboarded the car for the last time for the short trip to Vincennes and 78th where the car pulled off of the street. It was about 6:15am by that point in time, and the Sun was just rising.
As the 7213 pulled away from Vincennes Avenue heading into the Rising Sun, we knew that we had witnessed an historic event in the history of Chicago. 99 years of traction history in Chicago ended at that moment. For me, it was a very sad moment for it was like losing a very good friend.
Chicago Area Recent Finds
Chicago’s PCCs did not operate in multiple units, but you would be forgiven for thinking so from this photo. Car 4172 and a very close follower are heading south at Clark and Division circa 1950. Note there are not yet any advertising brackets on the sides of the PCCs. At right, there is an entrance to a CTA subway station, which is today part of the Red Line.
CTA PCC 4366, a Pullman, heads north on diversion trackage on Halsted at Congress in 1950. This was necessitated by construction of the bridge that would go over the Congress expressway (now the Eisenhower, I290). Bridges that crossed the highway were the first things built, since traffic could be routed around them. Once a bridge was finished, the area around it could be dug out.
CTA PCC 7148, running northbound on Route 36 – Broadway, turns from Broadway onto westbound Devon in 1955, with the Howard line “L” in the background. The date written on this slide mount is 8-14-56, but the turning car has a 1955 Illinois license plate on it, so perhaps the correct date is 8-14-55. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA Pullman-built PCC 4124 is eastbound on Route 20 – Madison at Cicero Avenue in 1953. The PCC is signed for Kedzie, so it is most likely a tripper, heading back to the barn. Streetcar service on the main portion of Madison ended on December 13, 1953.
The same building as in the previous picture.
Rust never sleeps, as the saying goes, and that is evident in this picture of a Chicago Surface Lines (now CTA, but still sporting a CSL logo) electric loco as it looked in the 1950s. Behind it is one of the CSL trailers that were used during the 1920s, pulled along behind other streetcars. Once ridership dropped during the Great Depression, these were used for storage at various CSL yards.
In August 1960, a four-car train of CTA 4000-series cars heads west on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L”. Since it appears there are passengers waiting for a Chicago & North Western commuter train on the adjacent embankment, I would say it’s possible the location is near Marion Street in suburban Oak Park. The outer 2.5 miles of the Lake route were relocated onto the embankment in October 1962.
CTA 4295 heads up a train in Oak Park on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L” on August 7, 1954. (Photo by Mark D. Meyer)
Two CTA 4000s go up the ramp on Lake Street, just west of Laramie, to rejoin the steel “L” structure east of here on November 30, 1952. (Robert Selle Photo)
In September 1959, we see a two-car train of CTA 4000s, preparing to head east. I believe the location is Marion Street in Oak Park and not Marengo Avenue in Forest Park as written on the slide mount. Marengo is a short distance west of Harlem, and although Lake Street trains did go there, the buildings in this picture match Marion. We have another picture in this post showing what the area west of Harlem actually looked like. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Photographer Bob Selle notes: Two-car “L” train (4420 at right) on Lake Street line just west of Harlem Avenue.” In the distance, you can see the actual terminal. Not that many people boarded there, compared to the Marion Street station just east of Harlem Avenue. This picture was taken on May 1, 1955.
A close-up of the previous picture, showing some wavy track and the actual station and bumper post (or is it turned-up rail?) at the west end of the Lake Street “L” prior to 1962. Riders could board trains at the station, which was located about two blocks west of Harlem Avenue.
CTA one-man car 3125, heading west on Route 16, is turning north from Lake Street onto Pine Street, where Lake takes a jog. In the process, it crosses the ground-level Lake Street “L”. This picture was taken on September 26, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)
A two-car train of 4000s is on the Lake Street “L” during construction of the Northwest (now Kennedy) expressway on February 25, 1958. The new highway opened in 1960. Further south, the Garfield Park “L” also crossed the highway footprint and had to be shored up around the same time this photo was taken. But once the new Congress rapid transit line opened on June 22, 1958 the Garfield line was no longer needed and the structure was removed where it crossed the highway, cutting the line off from the rest of the system. The remaining portions of structure west of there were removed in 1959; east of there, parts remained until 1964. The Lake Street “L”, on the other hand, rechristened the Green Line, is still here.
In this picture, taken in April 1964, we see the back end of a CTA two-car train of 4000s as they head east at Halsted on the Lake Street “L”. By this time, the western portion of the line had been relocated onto the C&NW embankment, and therefore there was no further need to use overhead wire. But the new 2000-series “L” cars had not yet replaced the 4000s in this line, which they would do shortly. This station, built in 1892-93, was closed in 1994 for the Green Line rehabilitation project, but never reopened. It was demolished in 1996 and the new Morgan station, two blocks to the west, more or less replaced it when it opened in 2012.
On August 13, 1964 CTA single-car unit 45 prepares to stop at Isabella station on the Evanston line. The car is signed as an Evanston Express, but I do not think it would have operated downtown as a single car. Therefore, it must be in Evanston shuttle service. (August 13, 1964 was a Thursday, so the Evanston Express was running that day, though.) (Photo by Douglas N. Grotjahn)
CTA red Pullmans 521 (on Ashland) and 640 (on 63rd Street) meet on May 14, 1953. This was near the end of streetcar service on 63rd. By then, PCC cars had been transferred from 63rd to Cottage Grove. The Curtis restaurant, located in this vicinity but behind the photographer, was a favorite of my parents. It is perhaps no coincidence that I have a brother named Curtis. (Robert Selle Photo)
CTA PCC 4095, built by Pullman, has just left the Madison-Austin loop on the west end of Route 20 on June 1, 1953. Buses continue to use this loop today, although it has been somewhat reconfigured. (Robert Selle Photo)
CTA 4271-4272 head up a northbound Evanston Express train passing through the Chicago Avenue station on June 26, 1958. These two cars, which were originally independent but were converted to semi-permanent “married pairs” in the 1950s, are still on CTA property and within a few years will celebrate their centennial. When the last of the 4000-series “L” cars were retired in 1973, these were chosen for preservation as historic cars. They are occasionally used for special events. (Robert Selle Photo)
CTA red Pullman 270 is on Cicero at North Avenue, where Cicero took a bit of a jog which has since been somewhat straightened out. The date is July 19, 1948. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA trolleybus 9219 on Route 77 – Belmont, running eastbound at approximately 952 W. Belmont (near Sheffield). The photographer was up on the north-south “L” platform. (William Shapotkin Collection)
The building in the previous picture is still there. For several years, there was a club on the second floor, first called the Quiet Knight, later on Tut’s. I attended many great concerts there in the 1970s and 80s.
Chicago Surface Lines 1775 crosses the Chicago River at Wabash Avenue on May 30, 1945, promoting the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). The nearby State Street bridge was out of service from 1939 to 1949 due to subway construction and wartime materials shortages.
CSL 1775, decorated to promote the SPARS*, is on 119th one block west of Halsted in August 1943. Car 1775 was chosen for patriotic duty because that was the year the Revolutionary War broke out, with the Battles of Lexington and Concord. *The United States Coast Guard (USCG) Women’s Reserve, better known as the SPARS, was the World War II women’s branch of the USCG Reserve. It was established by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 23 November 1942.
On August 25, 1946 CSL one-man car 3093 is running outbound on private right-of-way between Morgan and Throop on Route 23, Morgan-Racine-Sangamon.
On May 25, 1958 we see CTA two-man PCCs 7206 and 4390 at 78th and Wentworth (South Shops). Both were products of St. Louis Car Company, as all 310 postwar Pullman PCCs had been scrapped by then for the “PCC conversion program” that used some of their parts in new 6000-series rapid transit cars. In spite of the roll signs shown here, Chicago streetcars were limited to running on a single route between downtown and the south side. The last northside car ran in 1957. (Robert Selle Photo)
CTA PCC 7151, a product of St. Louis Car Company, heads south on Route 49 – Western at North Avenue in 1953. The “L” station behind it was part of the Humboldt Park branch, which was abandoned in 1952. Once the station was closed, signs advertising “L” service were removed although I don’t believe this portion of the structure was removed until the early 1960s. Note that riders at this safety island are boarding at the rear, as this is a two-man car.
CTA 4393 is at the 79th and Western loop, south end of Route 49, on July 19, 1954. (Robert Selle Photo)
CTA PCC 4376 is turning into the loop at 79th and Western, south end of Route 49, on July 19, 1954. (Robert Selle Photo)
On May 1, 1955 CERA held a fantrip using 2800-series wooden “L” cars. Here, the train makes a photo stop at DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park, then the western end of the Garfield Park “L”. The terminal had been reconfigured in 1953 when CA&E trains stopped running downtown. It would be reconfigured again in 1959. By 1960, the Congress expressway was extended through this area. (Robert Selle Photo)
CTA two-man arch roof car 3189 is southbound on Halsted Street near the Garfield Park “L” overpass, south of Van Buren Street on September 17, 1953. As had previously happened with 63rd Street, PCCs had been taken off this route and replaced by older red cars for the final few months of service. 3189 is on the bridge that would eventually go over the Congress expressway, which was then under construction. (Robert Selle Photo)
Here’s what photographer Bob Selle wrote on this negative envelope: “”L” cars fresh from the paint shops, MU-coupled, for trip to South side “L” lines: deck roofer 2912 and steel car 4224 at Quincy and Wells platform. June 14th, 1955.”
CSL 4062 was the first postwar PCC put into service. It was built by Pullman. Here, we see it as delivered at 78th and Vincennes on September 30, 1946. Note the different paint scheme the first cars had in the “standee” windows area.
CSL 298 is on Wabash at Cermak on September 14, 1934.
This picture of CTA one-man car 3236, taken on January 14, 1950 shows it crossing Maplewood Avenue on what is obviously an east-west trolley line. John F. Bromley, who sold me this negative, was unsure of the location. Jeff Wien writes, “I would guess that it is at 71st & Maplewood. Bill Hoffman lived all of his life at 6664 S. Maplewood which was a half mile north. Maplewood is a block or two west of Western. Route 67 covered 67th, 69th and 71st as far west as California (2800). Maplewood is around 2600 West. Check out the streets to see if I am correct. The one man cars were used on route 67.” Looks like Jeff is correct, as further research shows that the house at left is still standing at 7053 S. Maplewood.
Photographer Bob Selle writes, “CTA one-man car 6174 eastbound as it crosses Halsted Street on Root Street (43rd Street line), leaving west end of line. August 1, 1953.”
Photographer Bob Selle writes, “Car 6177 leaving south end of Kedzie barn for Cermak Road, February 14, 1953.”
CTA Pullman-built PCC 4084 leaving the Kedzie Station (car barn) on September 13, 1950. The car at right appears to be either a 1949 or 1950 Ford. My father had a 1949 model, and as cars were very much in demand after the end of World War II, the dealer put him on a waiting list. After being on the list for six months, he found that he had actually gone further down the list than he was at the start! So he wrote a letter complaining about this to Henry Ford II, and the next thing you know, they sold him a car. Presumably the PCC is heading out on Route 20 – Madison. (Robert Selle Photo)
This negative did not come with any identifying information, but it is obviously from a February 12, 1939 fantrip where the fledgling Central Electric Railfans’ Association chartered Chicago Rapid Transit Company “L” cars 4317 and 4401 and took them out on parts of the CA&E including the Mount Carmel branch. However, since that line used overhead wire, that’s not where this picture was taken. Instead, it appears to be out near the end of the line at Mannheim and 22nd Street on the CRT’s lightly used Westchester line, which was built in anticipation of housing being built in this area (which did not come about until the 1950s). South of Roosevelt Road, the line was single-track, which appears to be the case here. If not for the Great Depression, more housing would have been built here. We have previously run two other pictures from the same fantrip, both taken on the Mt. Carmel branch. The CTA substituted bus service for “L” on the Westchester line in 1951 as it did not want to continue paying rent to the CA&E, which had already announced its intentions to truncate passenger service to Forest Park, which meant similar rent payments to the CTA were about to cease.
CTA PCC 4087 leaves the Kedzie car barn during the morning rush on July 1, 1953 and is signed for the Madison-Fifth branch line. (Robert Selle Photo)
The end is near for CTA 4402 and the other couple dozen or so PCC cars that remained at the end of service. Ultimately, only car 4391, now at the Illinois Railway Museum, was saved. This picture was taken at 77th Street yards on June 15, 1958. (Robert Selle Photo)
CSL 5387 is westbound at 63rd and Dorchester, having just gone under the Illinois Central viaduct on June 13, 1947. Even though this neg was lightstruck on the top edge (almost all of which I cropped out), I thought it was an interesting streetscape with the diner and what appears to be some sort of pawn shop or resale shop. The Jackson Park branch of the “L” went over the IC at this point, and has since been cut back.
On August 28, 1955 Illinois Central Electric suburban 1161 and its trailer are crossing Halsted Street at 121st on their way to Blue Island. There was a fantrip that day (hence the fans,), but this was not the fantrip train apparently. (Robert Selle Photo)
CSL 1872 is on Franklin at Jackson on June 13, 1947.
CSL red Pullman 293 is at Roosevelt and Wabash on June 13, 1947.
This Chicago, Aurora & Elgin image is from an original 1950s Kodachrome slide that was not processed by Kodak. I am not quite able to make out the car number, but it looks like it is one of the 420s. The location is downtown Elgin, along the Fox River. The Rialto Theater burned down in 1956.
This picture is somewhat blurred, which makes one wonder why the late Edward Frank, Jr. printed it and sold it. But it does show CSL 1819 and a passing Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train. The curved section of track suggests this may have been taken near the Sacramento curve. That’s probably Ed Frank’s bicycle in the lower right hand corner.
It is not often that individual employees can be identified in an old photo such as this, which shows CA&E express freight car #5 (presumably, the second #5, built by Cincinnati Car Company). But the man at left is Clyde Goodrich, a longtime engineer on the interurban. As far as I know, he was still employed there up to the final 1959 abandonment of service.
Clyde B. Goodrich, the man in the left, was born in DeKalb, Illinois on May 17, 1887 and died in Florida on September 1, 1970. His wife’s name was Winifred (1882-1955). In 1920, Clyde lived in Aurora and was employed by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. In the 1940 census, he was living in Wheaton and worked as an engineer on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin. Clyde B. Goodrich and his wife are buried in Wheaton Cemetery.
The caption here reads, “North Western and electric lines stations, Wheaton.” The CA&E is in the foreground. The photo is not dated, but it must be quite early.
This photo, dated May 1966, shows the CA&E’s Wheaton station being torn down.
Demolition is nearly complete in this photo, also dated May 1966.
CA&E wooden interurban car 54. Don’s Rail Photos: “54 was built by Stephonsin in 1903. It was modernized in July 1946 and retired in 1959.”
CA&E wooden freight motor 9. Don’s Rail Photos: “9 was built by Niles Car in 1907. It was scrapped in 1959.”
A crane on a CA&E flat car. This appears to be Wheaton Yard.
North Shore Line car 182 is southbound on the Shore Line Route in North Chicago, Illinois on June 12, 1954. Don’s Rail Photos: “182 was built by Cincinnati Car in September 1920, #2455.” (Robert Selle Photo)
While Chicago’s Congress expressway (now the Eisenhower) is rightly considered its first, Lake Shore Drive preceded it as an “almost” expressway. Here. we see construction taking place on December 13, 1940. Until the early 1970s, LSD had lanes that could be reversed in rush hour by raising and lowering these short barriers. Unfortunately, this resulted in a number of head-on collisions, and these were eventually deactivated. The photo caption reads, “Workmen install line of elevating curbs in new express highway on Chicago’s lake front. The curbs, placed two lanes apart on the eight lane roadway, give extra lanes to rush hour traffic to ease traffic flow. The elevating jacks shown raise the curb to height of nine inches, exert pressure of 12 tons. The retracting springs, having a 10-ton pressure, pull the curbs down when the hydraulic jacks are released. The entire curb system is operated from one central control station.” (Photo by Acme)
Chicago’s Loop in 1959
The following ten images are part of a larger batch we recently purchased. Several of the others show various downtown movie theaters (including the Clark and Garrick) and will be posted in the near future on our “sister” Clark Theater blog. By studying the various films that were playing, I have determined these pictures were taken during the summer of 1959.
Here’s a rather unique view showing the front of the old Wells Street Terminal, or what was left of it anyway, as it appeared in 1959. This terminal was last used by the CA&E in 1953. Two years later, the upper portion of the attractive facade was removed and a new track connection was built so that Garfield Park trains could connect to the Loop “L”. A new connection was needed, since the old one had to give way to construction on Wacker Drive. The remainder of the terminal, and the track connection, were no longer needed after the Congress rapid transit line replaced the Garfield Park “L” in 1958, and they were removed in 1964. Note there is a barber shop occupying part of the building.
A two-car train of CTA 4000s, running on the Lake Street “L”, are at Wabash and Van Buren on the Loop. In the background, you can see the Auditorium Theater building.
The old Epicurean restaurant, at left, was located at 316 S. Wabash and served Hugarian cuisine. A CTA Lake Street train rumbles by above.
A street sign is just barely visible in this photo taken under the Loop “L”, identifying the cross street as Dearborn. Since that is one way southbound downtown, and the arrow is pointing to the right, that implies we are in Lake Street and are looking to the east.
The old Metropolitan “L” crossed the Chicago River just south of Union Station (just visible at left) and had four tracks, necessitating two bridges. After these tracks were taken out of service in June 1958, the bridges were permanently raised, and razed in 1964.
Another view of the same two Met “L” bridges in 1959.
Another photo of the two Met “L” bridges.
It’s not clear where this picture was taken. The two wires that cross the trolley bus wires are, I am told, “feeder span hangers.” The last Chicago trolley bus ran in 1973. The CTA currently has two electric buses that run on batteries, and has just placed an order for 20 more.
Another view of the Loop “L” on south Wabash, probably taken near the locations if the other similar photos showing Lake Street trains.
This photo shows what State Street, that great street, looked like during the summer of 1959. We are looking north from about 400 S. State. The Goldblatt’s department store is at right, and that’s a CTA #36 bus heading south. Streetcar tracks on State have either been removed, or paved over. Note the “grasshopper” style street lights that were installed in 1959.
FYI, here is another view from the same location, taken after streetcar tracks were removed, but before the 1959 installation of those unique street lights:
(See attribution information for this photo via the link provided above.)
Miscellaneous New Finds
This photo purports to show the actual last run on Milwaukee’s ill-fated Speedrail interurban on June 30, 1951. However, according to Larry Sakar, author of Speedrail: Milwaukee’s Last Rapid Transit?, “The last run to Waukesha which left Milwaukee at a little after 8:00 pm and returned to Milwaukee at 10:08 pm, 2 minutes ahead of schedule, was handled by duplex 37-38. The final round trip to Hales Corners was handled by curved side car 63, not 66. 66 did run on the last day, but it was by no means the final run.” Chances are this photo was at least taken on the last day. The line could not survive the repercussions of a terrible head-on collision in 1950, and Milwaukee area officials wanted to use the interurban’s right-of-way, which it did not own, for a new highway. Don’s Rail Photos: “66 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as Dayton & Troy Ry 203. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to Lehigh Valley Transit as 1102. In 1949 it was sold to Speedrail, but was not rehabilitated until March 1951. But it only ran for 3 months before the line was abandoned and then scrapped in 1952.” (Photo by George Harris)
Early Kodachrome images such as this are rare. Here, we see a San Francisco cable car (signed for Powell and Mason) in operation during the summer of 1945. When this picture was taken, the war in Europe had ended, but the US was still fighting Japan. According to the Cable Car Museum web site, this car is currently in service as #3: “Built by the Carter Bros. of Newark, California during 1893-1894 for the Market Street Railway’s Sacramento-Clay cable car line. The United Railroads transferred it to the Powell Street cable car lines in 1907, after the Earthquake and Fire of 1906. Until 1973, numbered as No. 503. No. 3 is painted in Muni’s green and cream paint scheme, which is based on the green and white scheme of the Muni’s former rival between 1921-1944, the Market Street Railway. This was the basic paint scheme for Powell Street cable cars from 1947 to 1982. Extensive rebuilding, by Muni 1955.”
PTC “Peter Witt” 8057 was built by Brill in 1923. Here it is seen on Route 34 in the 1950s. Michael T. Greene writes: “The picture of the Route 34 Peter Witt was taken at 38th and Locust Streets, on what’s now the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. (An alum now resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, in Washington, but enough of that!). The trolley is using detour trackage onto Locust Street EB, as part of the subway-surface extension of the 1950’s…westbound trackage continued on Locust to 40th Street, where it hung a left turn. Today, 38th Street has been widened to a 2-way street, but still with a trolley track, used as a diversion route for subway-surface Routes 11, 13, 34, and 36. Locust Street was been turned into a pedestrian walkway, and a pedestrian bridge goes over 38th Street these days.”
Philadelphia Transportation Company 7266 is on Route 9, sometime in the 1950s during street construction. Micheal T. Greene writes: “The Route 9 car is on 5th Street south of Market Street. At this time, 5th Street was being widened as part of Independence Mall. Independence Hall is out of this picture to the right.”
Indianapolis Railways “Peter Witt” car 181, also known as a “Master Unit,” a Brill trademark, is signed for College-Broad Ripple on April 16, 1952. This car was built in March 1934 and was one of the last streetcar orders filled before the PCC era. (Robert Selle Photo)
Indianapolis Railways 155 was built by Brill in September 1933. On May 21, 1950 it is at the east end of the Washington Street line on a fantrip.
On August23, 1946, photographer Walter Hulseweder snapped this picture of Indianapolis Railways 131 on Washington Street at Illinois Avenue on the Washington-Sheridan line.
By strange coincidence, this photo showing a Rock Island Motor Transit Company bus was taken in June 21, 1958. Bill shapotkin adds, “The photo was taken at the joint CGW/Greyhound/Jefferson bus station in Rochester, MN. This bus provided connections from/to ROCK trains at Owatonna, MN.” (William Shapotkin Collection)
This picture, which could be as old as the 1930s, was listed by the seller as being Chicago. However, I have my doubts, as I am unable to think of a location this could be around here, or what the construction project might be. The sign says “Detour to temporary bridge.” Jeff Wien thinks this might be Philadelphia.
We’ve added another image to our previous post The Fairmount Park Trolley (November 7. 2017), which includes an extensive section about the Five Mile Beach Electric Railway in Wildwood, New Jersey:
Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 36 at Warehouse Point, Connecticut on August 16, 1952.
A SEPTA commuter train, ex-PRR, at West Chester in May 1979. SEPTA rail service to this station ended in 1986, but the West Chester Railroad began running a not-for-profit tourist operation of train service on weekends between West Chester and Glen Mills in 1997. (Photo by Paul Kutta)
Red Arrow “Master Unit” 79 is inbound in 1949 on either the Media or Sharon Hill line, in spite of the sign saying Ardmore (thanks to Kenneth Achtert for that correction). He adds, “It was (still is) standard practice for Red Arrow operators, when changing ends at the outer end of their route, to set the sign on what would be the rear of the car for the inbound trip to read their next outbound destination. Thus, when the car arrived at 69th St. Terminal and went around the loop to the boarding platform the rear destination sign was already set. This was actually the more important sign, as most passengers approached the cars from the rear coming from the main terminal (and from the Market-Frankford Elevated line).” (Mark D. Meyer Photo)
Red Arrow “Master Unit” 82 is at the 69th Street Terminal on August 8, 1948. (Walter Broschart Photo)
On September 12, 1959, Philadelphia Suburban Transportation 3, a 1941 “Brilliner,” is on Lippincott Avenue north of County Line Road, on the short Ardmore line which was bussed in 1966.
Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka “Red Arrow”) cars 5 and 14 pose at 69th Street Terminal on June 22, 1963. The car at left is a Brilliner, from the last batch of trolleys built by Brill in 1941. The car at right was built by the St. Louis Car Company in 949. Although it looks much like a PCC, it was not considered such as it had standard interurban trucks and motors. Both types of cars were double-ended.
We’ve added this image to our extensive section about the Fort Collins (Colorado) Birney car operation in Our 150th Post (August 6, 2016):
Fort Collins Municipal Railway Birney car 22 in the city park on April 30, 1947.
Our resident South Side expert M. E. writes:
Your latest post has a bunch of good stuff.
https://thetrolleydodger.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/proofs116.jpg Interesting that you think this picture might be of your mother and you. In the book “In Search of Steam” by Joe Collias (which I do not have), there is a picture taken at Englewood Union Station of a young boy, bundled in winter clothing, watching a New York Central steam engine come into the station. I’d swear that young boy is me.
The movie of the last PCC streetcar almost made me cry. My last ride on a Chicago streetcar occurred in early June when my high-school best friend and I rode one car from 81st and Halsted to 63rd and Wentworth, then another car ack to 81st and Halsted. Also: Probably less than a week after the last streetcar ran, I graduated high school. So this time frame is especially meaningful to me. (Please don’t publish this, it’s just for your information.)
https://thetrolleydodger.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/proofs138.jpg The text under this picture says the South Shops was at 78th and Wentworth. Not so. South Shops was at 77th and Vincennes on the east side of Vincennes. And the land it occupied was huge — from 77th and Vincennes east to about Perry (a block west of State St.) and south to 79th. I haven’t been there in a long time, but maybe the CTA still has all that land.
https://thetrolleydodger.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/proofs1611.jpg I’d have to agree that this car is on 71st St. west of Western. Because you say 7053 S. Maplewood is at the left, I contend the streetcar is heading west to 71st and California. One small nit: The caption says “Bill Hoffmann lived all of his life at 6664 S. Maplewood.” Unless there was an extra-long block between 66th and 67th (Marquette Blvd.) on Maplewood, the address would have to be 6654. Normally there are 60 addresses to a block, from 00 to 59.
https://thetrolleydodger.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/proofs160.jpg This is an interesting picture. As the caption indicates, the car had just left the west end of its line. That west end was west of Halsted between two buildings. It was a dead end, providing only a switch from westbound to eastbound track. Also: You previously published a photo taken here, on Halsted St. south of Root, looking north. In that photo was a 44 Wallace-Racine car turning from west on Root to south on Halsted. (In this current photo you can see the trackage for this turn.) Also in that previous photo was the Halsted St. station of the Stock Yards L.
Thanks very much for your interesting observations!
I don’t think that the woman and boy actually are me, but they certainly resemble us in 1958. My mother dressed like that all the time, and the kid is about my age.
We lived on the west side, in Mont Clare. My mother’s parents lived in Englewood and that’s where she was living when my parents met. So naturally, they frequented restaurants in the neighborhood.
63rd and Ashland was bustling back then.
The June 18, 1958 Southtown Economist gives Dorothy Hoffman’s address as 6622 S. Maplewood. I believe Bill Hoffman lived with his sister, so perhaps that is the correct address.
If you think 63rd and Ashland was busy, you should have seen 63rd and Halsted, which was the heart of Englewood. Somewhere I once read that 63rd and Halsted was the busiest commercial district in Chicago outside the Loop. It was a great place to grow up because there were three streetcar lines (8, 42, 63), the Englewood L (which I could see from our building), and railroad stations east on 63rd at Wallace and La Salle.
Good point! People tend to forget these things, as certain areas of the city became depopulated to some extent, and urban renewal leveled entire blocks.
We’ll let Jeff Wien have the last word:
Streetcars, streetcars, streetcars. They seem to be popping up all over the country. And who would have thought 60 years ago that there would be such a renaissance! I was called a trolley jolly because I favored streetcars. The Millenials like them.
Pre-Order Building Chicago’s Subways
Title Building Chicago’s Subways Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960
Building Chicago’s Subways will be published on October 1, 2018. Order your copy today, and it will be shipped on or about that date. All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.
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CTA 6151 is southbound at Halsted and Congress on October 5, 1953 running on Route 8. The bridge 6151 is on spanned the Congress Expressway construction site. The highway was not yet open, and service continued on the Halsted “L” station at rear (with two tracks instead of the original four) until June 1958. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Spring is here again, at least sort of, since we are expecting snow today here in Chicago. It’s been some time since our last post, but we have been busy collecting more streetcar and interurban pictures for your enjoyment. Plus, there are important contributions from some of our readers, for which we are thankful.
Each year, we turn our clocks forward one hour in the spring. But many of us wish we could simply turn back the clock instead, although hindsight is always 20/20 and we should always keep our eyes on the future.
But regardless, let’s “spring forward” with some great traction images from days gone by! We also have a few bonus images for our bus and diesel fans as well.
PS- We are gratified that despite not having a new post for two months, our readers have continued to support us. In fact, we are still very much on track to show a 15% increase in page views this year.
Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern car 100 on the Southern Iowa Railway on October 13, 1963. 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.” This slide has “Q transfer” noted on it– not sure what that means. (James J. Buckley Photo)
The new and the old. CTA 5007 and 2269 at Rosemont on August 26, 2010. The 2200s have since been retired. (Bruce Nelson Photo)
An Oshawa steeple cab with a Philadelphia & Reading coach at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)
An Oshawa steeple cab at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)
Montreal observation car #4 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)
Connecticut Company Birney car 3001 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)
Illinois Terminal double-ended PCC 451 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)
New Orleans #836 and Rio car #1850 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)
Rio car #1850 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)
Connecticut Company open car 1414 was built by Osgood Bradley in 1911. Here, we see it at the Shore Line Trolley Museum located at Branford, Connecticut on June 18, 1966. (William C. Janssen Photo)
Connecticut Company open car 1414 at Branford on May 30, 1964. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)
Connecticut Company open car 1414 was built by Osgood Bradley in 1911. Here, we see it at the Shore Line Trolley Museum located at Branford, Connecticut on June 18, 1966. (William C. Janssen Photo)
You would be forgiven for thinking this December 18, 1955 photo shows CTA Pullman 144. But this was actually the excursion where car 144 was promised, but 225 was substituted in its place– renumbered with the help of a few pieces of oilcloth. Here, the fantrip car is seen at Broadway and Devon.
CTA PCC 7138, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, at the State Street loop near 84th on February 11, 1950. This location is now occupied by the Dan Ryan expressway.
CTA PCC 7070 at the Clark and Howard loop on July 4, 1954.
Philadelphia & Western (aka Red Arrow) Bullet car 202 at Norristown in 1949. Behind 202, you can see the ramp leading down to street level, used by Lehigh Valley Transit’s Liberty Bell route trains. (S. Bogen Photo)
By May 1961, when this photo was taken in Norristown, Liberty Bell Limited trains had been gone for nearly a decade. As you can see at left, the ramp leading down to ground level was removed and blocked off with an advertising sign.
Philadelphia Suburban (aka Red Arrow) Brilliner car 3 at Gay and High Streets in West Chester on June 6, 1954, at the end of trolley service on this route. The longest Red Arrow line was mainly a single-track side-of-the-road operation, which had to give way for the widening of West Chester Pike. (Edward S. Miller Photo)
Philadelphia Suburban (aka Red Arrow) car 78 at Larchmont Station on West Chester Pike at Media Line Road, Newtown Township, PA on May 9, 1954. Photographer Edward S. Miller noted that he later operated this car at the Arden trolley museum.
Philadelphia Suburban double-end car 19, which looked like a PCC but does not technically qualify as one, since it had standard interurban trucks and motors. It is captured on May 9, 1954 at Broomall Station on West Chester Pike at Sproul Road in Marple Township, PA. (Edward S. Miller Photo)
A pair of Bullet cars running in multiple units on the Red Arrow Norristown High Speed Line on September 9, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)
Philadelphia Suburban (aka red Arrow) car 11 at the end of the line on the short Ardmore branch on September 9, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)
Philadelphia Suburban (aka red Arrow) car 13, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, on the Media line on September 9, 1958. Garrett Patterson says the location is “Drexelbrook, inbound.” (Clark Frazier Photo)
Philadelphia Suburban double-ended car 15, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1949, is seen at Gay and High Streets in West Chester, at the end of the long West Chester trolley line.
To see many more Philadelphia pictures like the ones above,take a look at our previous post Red Arrow in West Chester (September 13, 2016).
Fairmount Park Transit closed car #1 on May 19, 1935.
Fairmount Park Transit open car 18 at the car barn.
CTA one-man car 1743 (signed for Route 21 – Cermak, but the photographer has written “Lake Street”) entering Kedzie Station at 5th Avenue and Jackson Boulevard on July 21, 1952. This picture looks to have been taken at about the same time as another, which shows a PCC car, on page 102 of my book Chicago Trolleys. (Robert Selle Photo)
Indianapolis Railways “Peter Witt” car 173 is shown at the Broad Ripple loop on June 6, 1951. Broad Ripple Village is an Indy neighborhood that was once an independent municipality. It was annexed into Indianapolis in 1922. (Robert Selle Photo)
CSL “Matchbox” 1169 at Damen and Taylor on June 2, 1945. Don’s Rail Photos says, “1169 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1903 as CUT 4698. It was renumbered 1169 in 1913 and became CSL 1169 in 1914. It was retired on September 16, 1944.” Not sure about the discrepancy in dates, but some renumbering of these cars did take place.
Chicago Aurora & Elgin cars 401 and 431 are crossing the DesPlaines River westbound on August 29, 1953, about a half mile west of the DesPlaines Avenue station. This is now the site of I-290. The CA&E tracks and bridge were moved north of the highway in 1959 but were never used by the interurban, which was subsequently abandoned. In this section, the CA&E ran parallel to Harrison Street, which has also been taken up by the highway. (Robert Selle Photo)
Three CTA arch-roof cars awaiting scrapping on May 16, 1954: two-man 6141, one-man cars 6167 and 3128 at South Shops. This was just two weeks before the end of all red car service in Chicago, and was also the date of a fantrip that ran on all the lines that were about to be “bustituted.” (Robert Selle Photo)
Images From the Wien-Criss Archive
Our thanks to Jeffrey L. Wien for sharing these classic pictures with our readers.
A three-car train of Boston MTA PCCs, running on Commonwealth Avenue east of Summit Avenue on May 31, 1961. (Clark Frazier Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
The Chicago Great Western Railway merged with the Chicago & North Western in 1968, and most of its trackage was thereafter abandoned. But on February 21, 1965, we see CGW freight #91, running westbound on Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal tracks, parallel to I-290 just west of Lombard in suburban Oak Park, Illinois. The motive power consisted of 104A, 105B, 106C, 116F, 1100, 112C, and 177. At right, you can see the secondary entrance to the CTA’s Congress rapid transit line at Lombard. The main entrance at Austin Boulevard is two blocks east of there. The CGW split off from the B&OCT in Forest Park a few miles west of here, and then ran parallel to the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban through Bellwood. (James J. Buckley Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
Kansas City Public Service PCCs 712 and 796 at the 48th and Harrison yard on October 16, 1956. PCCs last ran in Kansas City in 1957, but streetcars returned to Kansas City in 2016. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee city car 360 on Glen Flora Avenue in Waukegan, Illinois. This picture could not have been taken after 1947. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 529, as seen from the Ashland station on the Lake Street “L”, on May 7, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 1725 is operating as a one-man shuttle car on the Madison-Fifth branch line on Route 20 on February 15, 1953. The car is heading southwest on Fifth Avenue approaching Harrison Street and Pulaski Avenue, which was the end of the line near the adjacent Garfield Park “L” station. I thought at first that the date might actually have been 1954, but subsequent research shows the 1953 date to be correct (see correspondence with Tony Waller below). (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 540 at 70th and Ashland (69th Street Station) on May 23, 1953. The sign above the streetcar bays is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
Chicago Surface Lines 4118, built by Pullman, heads southbound on Clark at Wacker on June 13, 1947. We ran a version of this picture before, in our post More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Six (November 30, 2015), but this one is better, as it is a scan from the original medium format negative. (Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 230 is southbound on Clark Street, having just crossed the bridge over the Chicago River on May 18, 1954. This was less than two weeks before the end of red car service in Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
In this November 4, 1952 view, CTA 593 is on Clark Street, heading south to the Limits car barn, while car 562 is on Southport, the north end of the Ashland route. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
On August 7, 1952, CTA 452 is at the north end of Route #9 – Ashland, on Southport just north of Irving Park Road. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
On May 24, 1958 the Central Electric Railfans’ Association operated a fantrip on the South Shore Line, using Illinois Central equipment. Normally, South Shore cars ran on the IC, but not the other way around. Here, they are having a photo stop at the “new” East Chicago station, parallel to the Indiana Toll Road, which opened in 1956. It replaced street running in East Chicago. The view looks east. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
On July 13, 1955, a 700-series North Shore Line car is being converted into a Silverliner, while flanked by cars 419 and 746 at the Highwood Shops. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA one-man car 6171 is at Lawrence and Clark in December 1951. Note the outdoor scale at left. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA one-man car 1784 is heading southwest on Ogden (Route 58) at Van Buren and Honore. To the right, buildings are being cleared away for the Congress Expressway. To the north, you can see a Wieboldt’s department store, which was located on Adams between Ogden and Ashland. The “L” to the rear is the Met branch leading to Logan Suare, already out of service for several months when this picture was taken in August 1951. The Garfield Park “L” would have been directly behind the photographer, smack dab in the middle of what became the expressway footprint. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullmans 546 and 553 cross near a safety island at 71st and Ashland on June 29, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
In this amazing June 22, 1953 view of the junction at Tower 18, on Chicago’s Loop “L” at Lake and Wells, we see CTA Evanston Express and Garfield Park trains, with a North Shore Line train in the background. Until 1969, both Loop tracks ran in the same direction, so the two cars are heading towards the photographer, while the North Shore Line train is going away. The photographer was standing on the Randolph and Wells platform. That station has since been replaced by Washington and Wells. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
On November 9, 1952, a two-car CTA “L” train, headed by car 1019, is on the trestle at Central on the Evanston branch. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 643 is westbound at North and Halsted on August 14, 1948. That section of “L” at the rear, part of a section known as the “triple curve,” is still there today, and is used by Brown and Purple Line trains. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Clark Street PCC 4361 and Broadway PCC 7175 meet at Clark, Broadway, and Diversey on November 8, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 558, turning onto Ashland from Irving Park Road on May 19, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA one-man car 3276 on Route 50 – Damen at about 2300 North. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 926 is a Lincoln-Peterson car at Division and Clark in June 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 58 is running as a “tripper” on Broadway-State on May 18, 1954. Here, we see it southbound on State Street, crossing the Chicago River over the bridge that was put into service in 1949. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 575 is southbound on Paulina near Washington Boulevard, running on Route 9 – Ashland on September 15, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
A green and cream “L” car passes a green and cream trolley. CTA 4327 is at the front of a Lake Street “L” train, running at ground level under trolley wire at Pine Street, while CTA 3141 prepares to turn and cross the tracks, heading to the other side of the Chicago & North Western embankment on September 26, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
Trolley scrapping: except for a few stragglers, nearly all red cars were scrapped by the CTA after being taken out of regular service on May 30, 1954. On November 6, 1954, we see Big Pullmans 248 and 585 at right, and one of the cars at left is 604 in this scene at South Shops. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
The late Robert Selle, a very gifted photographer, took his own picture inside CTA streetcar 3217 at 69th Street Station on July 12, 1952. (Wien-Criss Archive)
Bob Selle took a “fast shot” of CTA 681 just inside the gates at Limits Station on June 28, 1952. Limits was located at 2650 North Clark Street, which was the city limits in the late 1800s. (Wien-Criss Archive)
In this September 5, 1953 view, looking west from the CTA Racine Avenue station on the old Metropolitan main line, we see the Throop Street Shops at right. A CA&E train is approaching us, heading toward the Loop. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
A 6-car CTA Ravenswood “A” train, made up of 200 and 300-series “L” cars, approaches Clark and Lake on September 15, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
Chicago & North Western steam loco 555, a 4-6-2, heads up a northwest line commuter train at Kinzie and 400 West on August 20, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
A two-car CTA train of railroad-roof cars is on the bridge over the North Shore Channel on the Evanston line on November 29, 1952. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
A view of the first 6400-series CTA “L” cars head into Chicago on a North Shore Line freight train on February 19, 1955. The location is just south of the Highmoor, Illinois station. Some of the parts used on these cars were recyycled from scrapped CTA PCCs that had less than 10 years’ service. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman PCC 4063 is turning from Madison Street onto Franklin on its way into the Loop, running on Route 20 – Madison. In this September 16, 1953 view, car 4063 appears to have suffered some front-end damage that has gone unrepaired. This is probably due to the CTA’s desire to scrap these cars within the next year or so. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA PCC 4081, heading south on Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth, proceeds slowly through a work zone at Clark and Van Buren on July 17, 1954. For more pictures of this, see our previous post Track Work @Clark & Van Buren, 1954 (February 1, 2015). This negative was apparently sold by an “RJA” at one point, which may mean the photo was taken by railfan Richard J. Anderson. This track work was related to the conversion of Clark and Dearborn into one-way streets downtown. (Wien-Criss Archive)
From the Collections of William Shapotkin
Again, our tanks to Bill for sharing these with us.
CTA PCCs 7182 and 4380 (or is it 4390?) are turning from Wentworth onto Vincennes at 73rd Street on Route 22. From the looks of the automobiles, this picture may have been taken in 1958. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CSL/CTA 6213 at 93rd and Exchange Avenue. The slide said the cross street was Anthony, but as Tony Waller points out, “The photo of the red streetcar on route 95 captioned as being at 93rd and Anthony Ave. is actually at 93rd and Exchange Ave. The streetcar line westbound turned from Exchange onto 93rd. Anthony Ave. parallels the PRR/NYC viaducts (and now the Skyway bridge alignment) that is in the near distance; crossing the streetcar line at a perpendicular angle.” (William Shapotkin Collection)
CSL 5130, signed for 31st and Lake Park. Bill Shapotkin says this car “is at Archer/Pitney. The view looks N-N/W on Pitney. The car has just changed ends and will take the crossover to head east.” (William Shapotkin Collection)
CSL 5083 is signed for Pitney and Archer. Bill Shapotkin say this location “is E/B in 31st, the car has just x/o South Park (now King Dr). The church on the S/E corner is still-standing and either is or has just undergone renovation.” (William Shapotkin Collection)
CSL 5147, signed for Pitney and Archer. Bill Shapotkin says this location “is W/B at Wallace (note address of 556 on building at left and car tracks in Wallace). View looks E-N/E.” (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 6199 is signed for Route 87A. (William Shapotkin Collection)
This close-up from the previous image, although not very sharp, does show that this car is a Frazer, a product of the Kaiser-Frazer company, If I had to guess, I would say it’s a 1947 model, possibly a Frazer Manhattan. Most of the styling on this car is attributed to “Dutch” Darrin. Kaiser-Frazer was an independent automaker between 1946 and 1954, started by aluminum magnate Henry J. Kaiser.
CTA one-man car 3224 is at 92nd and Baltimore. That’s a bus trailing behind. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA Pullman 144, possibly on a late 1950s fantrip. This car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA one-man car 3219 is at 87th and Escanaba in May 1950, at the end of the line for Route 87A. The operator is changing ends. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA one-man car 3220 is at 67th and Oglesby in June 1952, on Route 67. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 6153. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 7191 is at 81st and Wallace on Route – Clark-Wentworth. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, William Shapotkin collection)
CTA Pullman 459 is at Ashland and 27th Street on Route 9 in February 1951. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CSL 5147, signed for Pitney and Archer. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CSL 5154, signed for Piney and Archer. Bill Shapotkin says, “This car is at East end-of-line in 26th east of Lake Park Ave — note IC catenary in background. View looks N/E.” (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 5278 at 79th and Western in March 1948 on Route 79. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA one-man car 6224 is at 92nd and Commercial in April 1948. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA one-man car 6272 is at 89th and Buffalo on Route 93 in April 1948. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CSL one-man car 6213 is at 89th and Avenue O in October 1946, on Route 93-95. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 6209 is at 94th on July 2, 1949, running on Route 93-95. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA Pullman 677 is at Pulaski and Bryn Mawr in 1949 on Route 53. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Bill Shapotkin writes:
All the pix of a ‘GM&O” passenger train are of the southbound “Plug,” the Chicago-Joliet suburban train. Even after the ICG merger, the train continued to operate with GM&O equipment — and indeed, the loco (do not recall if it was 880-B or not), even got a new GM&O logo stenciled onto its nose. Bi-level equipment arrived (I believe) circa 1977-79, when a second “Plug” was added to the schedule.
A Gulf, Mobile & Ohio passenger train near Chicago’s Loop. This slide was process in August 1972, right around the time that the GM&O was merged into the Illinois Central. (William Shapotkin Collection)
A GM&O diesel in August 1972, near some Penn Central motive power. (William Shapotkin Collection)
A diesel loco, still in GM&O colors, on August 15, 1978. (William Shapotkin Collection)
A GM&O loco heads up a passenger train in August 1975 and prepares to pass an Amtrak train. (William Shapotkin Collection)
A Chicago & North Western commuter train near Chicago’s Loop in August 1970. (William Shapotkin Collection)
A Chicago & North Western commuter train in Maywood on August 4, 1969. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA “Fishbowl” bus 1253 at Jefferson Park on June 25, 1978, running on Route 81. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA “Fishbowl” 1178 leaving Jefferson Park on Route 81 on March 10, 1980. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA bus 6286 is turning from Clark onto Southport in April 2008. This is the north end for Route 9 – Ashland. (John J. Le Beau Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)
Milwaukee County Transit System 4718 at the Mitchell International Airport cell phone parking lot on September 30, 2016. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Milwaukee County Transit System 5612 at the Mitchell International Airport cell phone parking lot on April 26, 2017. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Milwaukee County Transit System 5180 at the Bayshore loop on February 20, 2012, running the Green Line to Mitchell Airport. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Milwaukee County Transit System 5174 at the 60th and Vliet loop on May 27, 2012, running Route 33. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Milwaukee County Transit System 5129 at 35th and Silver Spring on June 9, 2012, running Route 19. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Milwaukee County Transit System 5162 at the 60th and Vliet loop on February 19, 2012, running Route 33. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Milwaukee County Transit System 5137 at the 60th and Vliet loop on March 5, 2012, running Route 33. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Railroad Record Club News
From Kenneth Gear:
I just found an interesting RRC document on line. It is a list of all RRC records available at the time of RRC 12 the DM&IR record’s release. I found it on a British vinyl record website but the copy of RRC 12 it came with was already sold. Unfortunately the scan is low res and there wasn’t much I could do to fix it. I color corrected it and sharpened the image. It is readable and contains a little bit of info about the club membership.
Barry Shanoff writes:
I haven’t seen any updates in a while. I hope all is well.
Thanks for writing.
I worked 15 out of 16 days in a row last month as an election judge, and that pretty much wore me out for a while. After that, it took me a couple weeks to get back up to speed.
Meanwhile, I have also been working hard on my next book, now scheduled for publication on October 1st. It’s close to being finished. I am also collecting material for what I hope will be next year’s book.
I have also been collecting lots of new images for the blog (see this post!). There’s a major article coming soon by Larry Sakar about Milwaukee streetcars, plus lots of images that other people have shared with me, in addition to ones I have purchased.
So although there hasn’t been a post in a while, a lot of work, as always, has been going on behind the scenes.
Charlie Vlk writes:
In case you haven’t come across this site the Indiana Historical Society has photos of 4200s being built and North Shore and South Shore items.
A caregiver for my father sent this to me. My father is the Marvin C. Kruse you cited. A few corrections. My dad just celebrated his 96th birthday a few weeks ago, alive and well. Also he never said he was POW.
I LOVE what you have done with his photos that my brother sold. This is a real benefit for all. Very good memories; Dad enjoyed this blog, too.
Looks like some of the information I dug up applied to a different Marvin C. Kruse. We have corrected the post, thanks. Glad he likes it.
Jack Bejna writes:
Another great post! The time you spend in preparation of these posts has to be enormous and just want you to know that your efforts are appreciated!
More CA&E images to come!
Tony Waller writes:
While I commend you for keeping up the great work, I believe I detected some errors in your photos. In the photo of the Fifth Avenue shuttle’s one-man red car that you said must be 1954 and not the cited 1953. It could well have been 1953. When streetcars were replaced by weekend/holiday buses on Route 20 Madison and Madison/Fifth in March 1952, buses ran on the Fifth Avenue branch only on Saturdays (through to the Loop). One-man red cars instituted the shuttle service on Fifth Avenue on Sundays and major holidays. Following complete bus substitution on the main line of Madison in December 1953, the one-man red car shuttle provided all service (seven days per week) on Fifth Avenue until February 1954 when the branch was discontinued without replacement.
The photo of the IC electric suburban train does not appear to me to be at Halsted (West Pullman) station on the Blue Island branch. I can’t say where it is, however.
The photo of the two wooden “railroad roof” Chicago Rapid Transit cars are not on the Central St., Evanston elevation; but are on the bridge over the nearby North Shore Channel waterway.
The photo of the red streetcar on route 95 captioned as being at 93rd and Anthony Ave. is actually at 93rd and Exchange Ave. The streetcar line westbound turned from Exchange onto 93rd. Anthony Ave. parallels the PRR/NYC viaducts (and now the Skyway bridge alignment) that is in the near distance; crossing the streetcar line at a perpendicular angle.
But as I said above, keep up your great work!
Thanks for the corrections. I did already fix the caption for the IC picture, which was the result of the neg envelopes getting switched between two negs. Not sure whether Bob Selle did this, but in any event I purchased one neg and Jeff Wien the other. Once we swap neg envelopes, order will be restored in the universe.
The www.chicagorailfan.com web site gives May 11, 1952 as the date when buses were substituted for streetcars on weekends for Route 20, but did not say anything about the Madison-Fifth branch line still being operated with trolleys as a shuttle until December 13, 1953. Admittedly, some of this minutiae does get a bit confusing.
However, this is all clarified on page 284 of Chicago Surface Lines: An Illustrated History (Third Edition), where author Alan R. Lind notes:
“CTA substituted buses for the Madison main line cars on weekends only starting May 11, 1952… (regarding the Madison-Fifth branch) On May 11, 1952 it remained a two-man car route on weekdays to downtown, but became a bus route to downtown on Saturdays only, and a one-man shuttle car route on Sundays only.”
One reason Madison-Fifth was eventually discontinued without bus replacement was the construction of the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway. It was decided to simply truncate Fifth Avenue at the highway and no bridge was built crossing it. Other cutbacks to that street have followed, to the point where today it is perhaps a vestige of what it once was.
The other thing that cinches it is the calendar. February 15, 1953 was a Sunday, when shuttle cars would have been running, while the following year the 15th was a Monday. Since Bob Selle marked on his neg envelope that this was a Sunday, the 1953 date must be correct after all.
Our resident South Side expert M. E. writes:
Missed you, wondered where you went. Glad you’re back.
https://thetrolleydodger.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/image691.jpg Behind the streetcar you see the tracks and the trolley wires curving to the left. Also, this streetcar is crossing a railroad. Also, the sign indicates the car is westbound to 95th and State. All of this tells me this is the area west of Stony Island Ave. where the 93rd/95th streetcar wiggled through several streets, heading west and south, before crossing the railroad seen in the picture. I also think the person in the front left window of the streetcar is its conductor. When the streetcar approached the railroad crossing, it stopped. The conductor had to get out of the streetcar, walk up to the railroad track, look both ways for trains, and then signal to the motorman if it was okay to cross the railroad tracks. The conductor probably re-boarded the streetcar at the front. He could stay there a while because the next streetcar stop was a fair distance west. By the way, this crossing required a two-man crew, which otherwise would have been only one man because of relatively light patronage on that line. The customers on this particular run were most likely steelworkers heading home.
https://thetrolleydodger.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/image688.jpg I wondered why there was a Gulf, Mobile and Ohio passenger train in 1972, because most passenger railroads yielded to Amtrak in April 1971 (the only exceptions being the Rock Island, Southern, and Rio Grande). So I guessed this picture has to depict a commuter train. I looked up “GM&O commuter train” in Google, and sure enough, it was GM&O’s only commuter train of the day, called the Plug.
The “2” key on my computer keyboard has been malfunctioning recently, which explains why I typed 1 instead of 21.
Additional research seems to show the 1953 date is correct for image742. See my correspondence with Tony Waller, which I have posted to the main body of the post.
I will post your other corrections later today, thanks! Always great to hear from you.
George Trapp writes:
Great to see your latest post. I do have one small correction on one photo and a couple of observations on another.
The June 22, 1953 view of Tower 18 on the Loop Elevated: The train approaching on the left is an Evanston Express not a Ravenswood. The lead car is a former Northwestern Elevated 1000 series gate car, note left hand cab and trolley poles. The Ravenswood used former South Side gate cars that had been used on the Wilson-Kenwood locals at this time in addition to new 6000’s.. Also, run #509 is an Evanston run number, Ravenswood’s were in the 400’s. Train behind is a Ravenswood at Merchandise Mart with 6131-6200 series cars.
Photo of Air-Door Pullman #528 on State Street bridge running as a Broadway-State tripper on May 18, 1954. Interesting because some of these cars were retained for emergencies after Ashland was converted to bus in Feb., 1954. In your CERA bulletin 146, there’s a photo of a line of them at Devon next to PCC #7195. By May 1954 the Post War PCC fleet was down to 347 cars. One other thing is the former Chicago Motor Coach 1001-1008 series Mack C-50 on the Wabash bridge. Unusual because they were not GM’s CMC’s usual supplier. They were probably purchased at GM’s encouragement because of anti-trust pressure GM was feeling. CMC reverted back to GM for 50 more TDH5103’s delivered four months after the Macks.
It’s great to hear from you; thanks for writing.
Ravenswood was what Bob Selle, the photographer, wrote on his negative envelope, so I went with that. But as we know, no one is infallible, and sometimes what’s written on a neg, slide, or print can turn out to be wrong.
Mr. Selle was a stickler for details, often putting down the day of the week and even the time of day when his pictures were taken, so for him, it’s a rare mistake. I will correct the caption, thanks.
We have written about the last few red cars before, the ones that were kept after May 30, 1954 for emergency use. I am pretty sure we were able to determine which cars they were, and how many.
Adam Platt writes:
Thanks again for the wonderful posts. They keep me up way too late some nights.
Wally Weart writes:
A home run, really one of the best so far.
Glad you like this post. Again, special thanks to Jeff Wien and Bill Shapotkin for their contributions.
On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)
Check out our new book Chicago Trolleys. Signed copies are available through our Online Store.
This book makes an excellent gift and costs just $17.99 plus shipping. That’s $4.00 off the list price.
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Chicago Aurora & Elgin wood car 301 sports a new paint job at Wheaton Yard in August 1959, two years after the end of passenger service. It sits forlornly while waiting for a buyer that never came. Fortunately, some other cars were saved.
We have been hard at work since our last post. Here are lots of great, classic pictures for your consideration.
In addition, we have new CD titles, which include about six hours of classic train audio. This means we have now digitized the complete Railroad Record Club collection and have made these long out-of-print recordings available to a new generation of fans. For each hour of CD audio, there is at least 10 hours of work involved. I hope that you will enjoy the results.
Our new book Chicago Trolleys is now 100% finished and has gone to press. There is also a set of 15 postcards available for a very reasonable price, using selected images from the book. The details are at the end of this post.
CTA one-man streetcar 3144 heads east on Route 16 – Lake Street somewhere between Laramie and Pine Street, while a two-car train of 400-series “L” cars runs at ground level parallel to the streetcar. The time must be near the end of red car service here, which was May 30, 1954, as that is a 1953 or 1954 Cadillac at left. The C&NW signal tower on the embankment is still there today, at about Pine Street, which is where streetcars crossed the “L” to run north of the embankment for a few blocks before terminating at Austin Boulevard, the city limits.
CTA 1777 is on Lake Street heading east near Laramie, next to the ramp that once took the Lake Street “L” up to steel structure. A few of the older red trolleys were repainted in this color scheme by CTA, but I don’t know anyone who found this very attractive when compared to what it replaced. The total distance where streetcars and “L” cars ran side-by-side was only a few blocks.
The same location today, at about 5450 West Lake Street.
A two-car train of CTA 4000s at the west end of the Lake Street “L” in Forest Park. This picture was probably taken circa 1961-62, since you can see that at right, work is already underway on expanding the embankment to create space for a rail yard. On October 28, 1962, the out end of Lake was relocated to the C&NW embankment at left.
Here, we see the Garfield Park “L” temporary tracks on Van Buren at Loomis, looking east on July 1, 1956. Construction on the adjacent Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower) is pretty far along. This operation would continue until the opening of the Congress median line on June 22, 1958.
At left, we can see Chicago Pullman 225 under a makeshift shelter at the Seashore Trolley Museum. 225 went there in 1957, but offhand, I’m not sure when the UK double-decker tram made the trip across the Atlantic.
A night shot from the National Tramway Museum in Crich (UK), which is home to more than 60 trams built between 1900 and 1950.
CTA’s line car S-606 at the Dempster terminal of the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line). According to Don’s Rail Photos, “S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum.” (Photo by Bob Harris) Bob Harris adds, “By the way, the body of 606 is back in Illinois. When CLS&SB #73 comes out of the restoration shop, 606 goes in. We have the Cincinnati Car Company drawings. But since 606 was virtually destroyed in the November 26, 1977 fire, this will be more of a re-creation rather than a restoration.”
Here, we are looking south on State Street from Monroe in 1942. Construction of the State Street Subway is being finished up, with the construction of stairway entrances. New streetcar tracks have been set in concrete, while it looks like some street paving work is still going on. The famous Palmer House is at left. There are a few references to WWII visible, meaning this picture was taken after Pearl Harbor. The subway was put into regular service on October 17, 1943.
A close-up of the previous picture.
This aerial view shows the old Main Chicago Post Office and the near west side in 1946, before work started on building the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower), which now runs right through the center of the building. That will give you an idea of just what a massive project this was. The old Metropolitan “L”, parts of which were displaced by the highway, has already curved off to the left, where it can be seen crossing the Union Station train sheds. Two side-by-side bridges carried the four tracks over the Chicago River. Then, tracks split, one part going to the Wells Street Terminal, the other continuing to a connection with the Loop structure at Wells and Van Buren. Now, the CTA Blue Line subway goes underneath the post office and river.
A close-up of the previous picture shows the Met “L” in greater detail. An eastbound two-car “L” train and a red CSL streetcar are visible.
In this picture, it looks like the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower) has just opened, which would date the picture to November 1960. We are looking east near Oak Park Avenue. Many things are unfinished, and traffic is limited to two lanes in each direction (and already very crowded). According to Graham Garfield’s excellent web site, the new Oak Park station opened on March 19, 1960, and the station house was finished on March 27, 1961.
Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee car 772 in 1959 at the barn lead to the Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee..
North Shore Line car 158 is a northbound Waukegan Express on the Shore Line Route at North Chicago, July 4, 1949. This was the also date of an Electric Railroaders Association (ERA) fantrip. 158 was built by Brill in 1915.
North Shore Line city streetcar 356 in the 1940s. The consensus is this shows Waukegan, as there was no curve in Milwaukee that matches the buildings in this picture. Jerry Wiatrowski adds, “This is in Waukegan! The photographer is standing on the South side of Belvidere Street looking East/Northeast. The Westbound streetcar is turning off of Marion Street (now South Genesee Street) and will shortly turn right onto South Genesee Street as it travels North thru the center of downtown Waukegan. If I recall correctly, the “s-curve” this streetcar is on was known as “Merchants curve”. The sailors that can be seen in the windows of the car are going to downtown Waukegan from the Great Lakes Naval Base, the South end of the streetcar line.”
Randolph Street looking east in the late 1940s. The RKO Palace Theatre, located at 151 West Randolph, is now the Cadillac Palace.
CTA Pullman 106 at South Shops on September 10, 1952.
A view of the north side of CTA’s South Shops on September 10, 1952. In a previous post, we ran a picture of car 4001 taken on this trackage. That picture was taken in the 1930s, and by 1952 it appears one track had been taken out of service.
CSL 4001 may be on non-revenue trackage at the north end of South Shops. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
This picture was taken on September 9, 1952, looking north from the Main Street station on CTA’s Evanston branch.
On September 9, 1952, a southbound North Shore Line train, running via the Shore Line Route, stops at Foster Street in Evanston. Here, NSL had its own platform to keep passengers from transferring to the “L” without paying another fare. The stairs descended to a free area. It was not necessary to have a similar platform for northbound riders, as North Shore Line conductors would check tickets on the train.