CTA’s New 7000s

CTA 7009-7010 at Dempster.

CTA 7009-7010 at Dempster.

Cooler weather returned to the Chicago area last Friday, after a string of hot and muggy days. We took this opportunity to take pictures on the Chicago Transit Authority.

We rode the new 7000-series cars for the first time on the Yellow Line (formerly the Skokie Swift), where they were being tested last week. Our luck was good, as our ride from Dempster to Howard turned out to be the last trip of the day for these new cars, which are being tested extensively on the CTA system.

My impression of these new “L” cars was very favorable. While in many respects they are similar to the existing fleet, the 7000s are instantly recognizable, due to their blue end caps. They are smooth and quiet in operation, and offer improved seating, with fewer sideways seats, which did not prove to be very popular on the 5000s. The 7000s will replace the 2600-series cars, some of which are now 40 years old.

We also took some pictures of the Belmont Flyover construction progress, which is part of the RPM (Red and Purple Modernization) project. The flyover will keep Red, Purple, and Brown Line trains from having to cross in front of each other, and will therefore add capacity to these routes once it opens this November.

In addition, we have more classic traction pictures to share, both our own, and from our contributors Larry Sakar, Bob Bresse-Rodenkirk, and Jack Bejna.

-David Sadowski

PS- If you enjoy reading these posts, you might consider joining our Trolley Dodger Facebook Group as well. We currently have 419 members.

CTA Yellow Line

CTA 7009-7010 has arrived at Dempster in Skokie.

CTA 7009-7010 has arrived at Dempster in Skokie.

Our 7000s train pulls up to the platform at Dempster.

Our 7000s train pulls up to the platform at Dempster.

The 7000s interior. There is less sideways seating than on the 5000s, which should prove popular with riders.

The 7000s interior. There is less sideways seating than on the 5000s, which should prove popular with riders.

Skokie Shops.

Skokie Shops.

Skokie Shops. You can see 6711-6712 and 6101-6102, part of CTA's Historic Fleet.

Skokie Shops. You can see 6711-6712 and 6101-6102, part of CTA’s Historic Fleet.

There are some 2400s at Howard Yard, for use in work service.

There are some 2400s at Howard Yard, for use in work service.

7009-7010 after arriving at Howard. Unfortunately, there was no return trip on these cars.

7009-7010 after arriving at Howard. Unfortunately, there was no return trip on these cars.

From the side, you can hardly tell the 7000s from other "L" cars.

From the side, you can hardly tell the 7000s from other “L” cars.

The new 7000s have distinctive blue caps on the ends.

The new 7000s have distinctive blue caps on the ends.

A northbound Red Line train at Howard.

A northbound Red Line train at Howard.

CTA 7009-7010 at Howard.

CTA 7009-7010 at Howard.

The 7000s were done for the day and about to be put back in the yard.

The 7000s were done for the day and about to be put back in the yard.

5519-5520 at Howard.

5519-5520 at Howard.

5519-5520 at Howard.

5519-5520 at Howard.

5519-5520 at Howard.

Howard Yard.

Howard Yard.

Flatcars at Skokie Shops.

Flatcars at Skokie Shops.

The CTA's historic 6000s at Skokie Shops.

The CTA’s historic 6000s at Skokie Shops.

Skokie Shops. Note the 7000-series car present.

Skokie Shops. Note the 7000-series car present.

East Prairie Road.

East Prairie Road.

This portion of platform is a remnant of the old Crawford-East Prairie station on the Niles Center route.

This portion of platform is a remnant of the old Crawford-East Prairie station on the Niles Center route.

Kostner.

Kostner.

Oakton curve.

Oakton curve.

Although the Skokie Swift has been renamed the Yellow Line, the CTA still uses this distinctive logo. I believe it was designed by the late George Krambles.

Although the Skokie Swift has been renamed the Yellow Line, the CTA still uses this distinctive logo. I believe it was designed by the late George Krambles.

CTA 5519-5520 at the Dempster terminal.

CTA 5519-5520 at the Dempster terminal.

The bus turnaround area has a shelter that is stylistically in keeping with the Dempster Street Terminal.

The bus turnaround area has a shelter that is stylistically in keeping with the Dempster Street Terminal.

This is the back end of the historic Dempster Street Terminal, originally built for the North Shore Line and designed by Arthur U. Gerber. The station was moved a bit from its original location to create a bus turnaround area.

This is the back end of the historic Dempster Street Terminal, originally built for the North Shore Line and designed by Arthur U. Gerber. The station was moved a bit from its original location to create a bus turnaround area.

From 1925 to 1948, Dempster was the terminal of the CRT's Niles Center branch.

From 1925 to 1948, Dempster was the terminal of the CRT’s Niles Center branch.

Belmont Flyover

The Belmont Flyover is massive and work is proceeding rapidly. It may be put into service as soon as this November.

The Belmont Flyover is massive and work is proceeding rapidly. It may be put into service as soon as this November.

This welder wanted me to take his picture with his mask on and the flame lit.

This welder wanted me to take his picture with his mask on and the flame lit.

Thumbs up.

Thumbs up.

The three-story Vautravers Building at 947 West Newport Avenue was recently moved 30 feet to the west by the CTA as part of the flyover project, so a curve could be straightened out.

The three-story Vautravers Building at 947 West Newport Avenue was recently moved 30 feet to the west by the CTA as part of the flyover project, so a curve could be straightened out.

There is more to the RPM project than just the Belmont Flyover. Parts of the century-old "L" embankment north of Wilson Avenue are being replaced. The Lawrence Avenue station is currently closed, and there is a temporary station at Argyle (shown here).

There is more to the RPM project than just the Belmont Flyover. Parts of the century-old “L” embankment north of Wilson Avenue are being replaced. The Lawrence Avenue station is currently closed, and there is a temporary station at Argyle (shown here).

Recent Finds

Red Arrow car 27, from a late 1950s red border Kodachrome slide. It was built by Brill in 1918. Sister car 25 was retired in 1964.

Red Arrow car 27, from a late 1950s red border Kodachrome slide. It was built by Brill in 1918. Sister car 25 was retired in 1964.

Red Arrow car 68 in the late 1950s, from a red border Kodachrome. We ran a different picture taken at this location in a previous post, so I can tell the location is Sheldon and Spring Avenues on the Ardmore line, which was converted to buses at the end of 1966.

Red Arrow car 68 in the late 1950s, from a red border Kodachrome. We ran a different picture taken at this location in a previous post, so I can tell the location is Sheldon and Spring Avenues on the Ardmore line, which was converted to buses at the end of 1966.

On June 6, 1954, William C. Hoffman took this picture looking to the northwest at Congress and Bishop Streets (1432 W.), showing the demolition of main line of the Metropolitan "L".

On June 6, 1954, William C. Hoffman took this picture looking to the northwest at Congress and Bishop Streets (1432 W.), showing the demolition of main line of the Metropolitan “L”.

The view looking west from Congress and Racine Avenue (1200 W.), showing the old Metropolitan "L"'s Throop Street Shops and power plant in the process of being torn down to make way for the Congress Expressway on June 6, 1954. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking west from Congress and Racine Avenue (1200 W.), showing the old Metropolitan “L”‘s Throop Street Shops and power plant in the process of being torn down to make way for the Congress Expressway on June 6, 1954. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Again, looking northwest from Congress and Racine, but this time on July 25, 1954. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Again, looking northwest from Congress and Racine, but this time on July 25, 1954. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Photographer Bruce C. Nelson took this picture of CTA 5695-5696 on February 19, 2017, when these cars (and two others), decorated to celebrate the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908, were used on a fantrip sponsored by the Central Electric Railfans' Association (and made possible by a substantial donation by the late Jeffrey L. Wien).

Photographer Bruce C. Nelson took this picture of CTA 5695-5696 on February 19, 2017, when these cars (and two others), decorated to celebrate the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908, were used on a fantrip sponsored by the Central Electric Railfans’ Association (and made possible by a substantial donation by the late Jeffrey L. Wien).

This shows why I am fully in favor of the recent plan to replace the State and Lake station on the Loop "L" with something new and modern. There was little left of the original station anyway, due to previous renovations and a fire. Clark Frazier took this picture looking north from State Street on April 21, 1980.

This shows why I am fully in favor of the recent plan to replace the State and Lake station on the Loop “L” with something new and modern. There was little left of the original station anyway, due to previous renovations and a fire. Clark Frazier took this picture looking north from State Street on April 21, 1980.

This picture of North Shore Line car 254 on the "L" in August 1962 generated a lot of discussion on the Facebook Trolley Dodger group. First of all, where is it? Jon Habermaas has identified it as the Harrison Curve at Harrison and Wabash. He also says that the train is northbound, turning onto Wabash, as the location of the combine as the lead car shows.

This picture of North Shore Line car 254 on the “L” in August 1962 generated a lot of discussion on the Facebook Trolley Dodger group. First of all, where is it? Jon Habermaas has identified it as the Harrison Curve at Harrison and Wabash. He also says that the train is northbound, turning onto Wabash, as the location of the combine as the lead car shows.

Jon Habermaas also posted this picture, taken at the same location.

Jon Habermaas also posted this picture, taken at the same location.

William C. Hoffman took this picture of a four-car train of 4000s at 43rd Street on October 13, 1952... with three cars in the old paint scheme and one in the new.

William C. Hoffman took this picture of a four-car train of 4000s at 43rd Street on October 13, 1952… with three cars in the old paint scheme and one in the new.

The view looking north at the 43rd Street station on October 13, 1952 found a train of flat-door 6000s. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking north at the 43rd Street station on October 13, 1952 found a train of flat-door 6000s. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

William C. Hoffman took this picture of a southbound train of CTA 6000s at 43rd Street on March 13, 1955.

William C. Hoffman took this picture of a southbound train of CTA 6000s at 43rd Street on March 13, 1955.

The view looking northwest from Congress and Ashland (1600 W.) on October 29, 1950. The one car train is a Douglas Park, and the two-car train of brand new 6000s is from Logan Square. This was a few months before the new Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway opened. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking northwest from Congress and Ashland (1600 W.) on October 29, 1950. The one car train is a Douglas Park, and the two-car train of brand new 6000s is from Logan Square. This was a few months before the new Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway opened. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A Lake Street "L" A train prepares to head east from the Harlem terminal in September 1966. These cars were two years old then, and the line had only been elevated here four years earlier.

A Lake Street “L” A train prepares to head east from the Harlem terminal in September 1966. These cars were two years old then, and the line had only been elevated here four years earlier.

The location of this 1950s Loop photo was a mystery. But Graham Garfield writes, "It’s Wells Street looking north at Monroe St. The 200 on the building in the background isn’t 200N, it’s 200W. Everything in this view is gone now, except the “L” and the building on the near left (the SW corner of Wells/Monroe)."

The location of this 1950s Loop photo was a mystery. But Graham Garfield writes, “It’s Wells Street looking north at Monroe St. The 200 on the building in the background isn’t 200N, it’s 200W. Everything in this view is gone now, except the “L” and the building on the near left (the SW corner of Wells/Monroe).”

Halsted looking south from 63rd Street. This picture was taken some time between 1907 and 1910. This station on the Englewood "L" has been rebuilt twice since then and is still in use today as part of the CTA Green Line.

Halsted looking south from 63rd Street. This picture was taken some time between 1907 and 1910. This station on the Englewood “L” has been rebuilt twice since then and is still in use today as part of the CTA Green Line.

A close-up of the previous picture.

A close-up of the previous picture.

This was a slide that was recently sold on eBay that I did not win. North Shore Line car 157 is apparently on a fantrip at the Milwaukee Terminal in the early 1960s, with the Milwaukee Road's train shed in the background.

This was a slide that was recently sold on eBay that I did not win. North Shore Line car 157 is apparently on a fantrip at the Milwaukee Terminal in the early 1960s, with the Milwaukee Road’s train shed in the background.

There were six original slides on auction recently, all taken in Chicago on January 10, 1956. I assume the photographer, who is as of yet unknown, may have simply been in town for a short time. I did win three of these, and will post improved scans once I receive them, but I thought they were interesting as an entire set:

A nice view of a gateman's shanty on the ground level portion of the Lake Street "L" in Oak Park. All 22 grade crossings here were manually operated.

A nice view of a gateman’s shanty on the ground level portion of the Lake Street “L” in Oak Park. All 22 grade crossings here were manually operated.

This is either the Kedzie or Homan station on the Lake Street "L" (today's Green Line). There was a third track on a portion of the line, originally used for express trains. In the CTA era, it was used for midday car storage.

This is either the Kedzie or Homan station on the Lake Street “L” (today’s Green Line). There was a third track on a portion of the line, originally used for express trains. In the CTA era, it was used for midday car storage.

Graham Garfield thinks this is the "L" station at Quincy and Wells, looking north.

Graham Garfield thinks this is the “L” station at Quincy and Wells, looking north.

Wentworth on the Englewood branch. Much of what you see here was cleared away within a few years to build the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Wentworth on the Englewood branch. Much of what you see here was cleared away within a few years to build the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Racine on the Englewood branch.

Racine on the Englewood branch.

Racine on the Englewood branch.

Racine on the Englewood branch.

Here's a 1950s view of the shuttle train that went to the Polo Grounds, where the New York Giants played, before decamping to San Francisco after the 1957 season. It was located in Manhattan, within view of Yankee Stadium (which was across the river in the Bronx). This was apparently the last vestige of the 6th and 9th Avenue Els in Manhattan. The expansion New York Mets played their 1962 and 1963 seasons at the Polo Grounds, while Shea Stadium was being built, after which it was torn down.

Here’s a 1950s view of the shuttle train that went to the Polo Grounds, where the New York Giants played, before decamping to San Francisco after the 1957 season. It was located in Manhattan, within view of Yankee Stadium (which was across the river in the Bronx). This was apparently the last vestige of the 6th and 9th Avenue Els in Manhattan. The expansion New York Mets played their 1962 and 1963 seasons at the Polo Grounds, while Shea Stadium was being built, after which it was torn down.

Ebbets Field

I recently bought seven original red border Kodachrome slides, taken at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn during a World Series game between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers. (They cost me just $7.50 apiece.)

The Dodgers were originally called the Trolley Dodgers in the early part of the 20th century, so I hope you won’t mind seeing these pictures here, even though they do not have a transit connection per se.

It is not often that old photos can be dated, but there are enough clues here that the actual date of this one can be figured out. The advertising signs match other pictures from the 1949 WS, where the Yankees beat the Dodgers, 4 games to 1. Games 3, 4, and 5 were played in Brooklyn, and the first two of those had a 1 pm start. Game 5 started at 2 pm since it was a Sunday.

Since the clock here says it is just after 2, and the game hasn’t started yet, this is Sunday, October 9, 1949. By studying one slide, you can see it was taken during the National Anthem. At the base of the scoreboard, there’s the iconic sign for Abe Stark’s clothing store (“Hit sign, win suit”).

Two blimps were flying overhead, one advertising R&H Beer, the other Tydol Gasoline.

The Yankees defeated the Dodgers that day 10-6 in the deciding game of the Series. Ebbets Field was not a large ballpark, and this game was attended by a crowd of 33,711 (several thousand less than the modern capacity of Fenway Park or Wrigley Field).

Ebbets Field had lights installed in 1938. This game was also historic, since the lights were turned on during the 9th inning, the first time this had been done in a WS game. (All WS games were played in the daytime until 1971.)

When games were over, fans were able to walk on part of the left field grass to exit by the center field gate.

The Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles after the 1957 season (and their rivals, the New York Giants, went to San Francisco), leaving the Yankees as the sole New York team until the expansion team Mets joined them in 1962. Ebbets Field, which opened in 1913, was torn down in 1960 and replaced by apartments.

"Hit sign, win suit."

“Hit sign, win suit.”

Recent Correspondence

This is one of the North Shore Line stations designed by Arthur U. Gerber. But which one? My guess is Kenosha. The original slide, from November 1987, was so underexposed that it almost looked opaque, but I did what I could with it.

This is one of the North Shore Line stations designed by Arthur U. Gerber. But which one? My guess is Kenosha. The original slide, from November 1987, was so underexposed that it almost looked opaque, but I did what I could with it.  (William Shapotkin Collection)

Larry Sakar writes:

As regards photo 2021/07/bills228 your guess that this is the Kenosha, WI. NSL station is 100% correct.

The giveaway is the entrance. This is the north end of the station. Sometime in the ’80’a or ’90’s when It was Spaghetti Station and then just “The Station,” the owners decided to add a banquet room to the north end of the building. It completely ruined its historical appearance. No attempt was made to make it look anything like the existing building and that big, square addition looked totally out of place with Arthur Gerber’s original design. They also ended up building across from one platform to the other forever ruining that part as well.

I went there in April or May of 1972. There was no bus service in Kenosha at the time, so I had to walk from the location of the TM station (8th Avenue & 55th St.) to the NSL station at 27th Avenue and 63rd St. When I got there I found the building completely enclosed by a picket fence. Luckily, the gate or whatever was open and I walked in and began snapping photos. In those days I was using an Ansco box camera and 620 b&w film with 8 shots to the roll. Talk about primitive!

Just then a gentleman came out of the station which was open on the south end. I explained that I was a traction fan and the North Shore line which had built this station is one of my areas of study. I thought I was going to get kicked off the property, but the man was quite flattered that I was interested in the building.

Did he know about the NSL and the history of the building? He never said. He said I was welcome to take as many pictures as I wished, and said he’d invite me inside but he had just finished washing the floor and it was slippery.

It was just as well because I’d lost the flash attachment to that camera years earlier. Remember the days of flash attachments and flashbulbs? I was also limited in how much time I could spend there. I’d come down from Milwaukee on the Wisconsin Coach Lines bus, which let you off in the downtown Kenosha area. I was really going to have to hustle if I was going to make the next bus back to Milwaukee. Luckily, I did.

I still have the prints that I shot that day and will send them to you should you wish to use them.

NSL Kenosha Station, north end of the southbound platform, April 5, 1972. (Larry Sakar Photo)

NSL Kenosha Station, north end of the southbound platform, April 5, 1972. (Larry Sakar Photo)

NSL Kenosha Station, looking south from the former track area, April 5, 1972. (Larry Sakar Photo)

NSL Kenosha Station, looking south from the former track area, April 5, 1972. (Larry Sakar Photo)

NSL Kenosha Station, southbound platform from the northbound platform, April 5, 1972. (Larry Sakar Photo)

NSL Kenosha Station, southbound platform from the northbound platform, April 5, 1972. (Larry Sakar Photo)

NSL Kenosha Station, waiting room on the southbound platform, April 5, 1972. (Larry Sakar Photo)

NSL Kenosha Station, waiting room on the southbound platform, April 5, 1972. (Larry Sakar Photo)

Bob Bresse-Rodenkirk sent in three recent photos, taken at the Shore Line Trolley Museum, in East Haven, CT:

“The Chicago Boys in proper North Shore uniform. Stephen B. Rudolph and Bob Bresse-Rodenkirk. Photos by Alan Zelazo.”

Bob adds, “I am the motorman there and Steve Rudolph is conductor.” Chicagoans may remember Bob from WBBM radio, under his professional name, Bob Roberts.

Finally, Jack Bejna sent us this photo of Chicago Surface Lines 4001:

An "as built" photo of experimental Chicago Surface Lines car 4001 in 1934. It was built by Pullman-Standard, and its body shell is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Jack Bejna Collection)

An “as built” photo of experimental Chicago Surface Lines car 4001 in 1934. It was built by Pullman-Standard, and its body shell is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Jack Bejna Collection)

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

I recently appeared on the Dave Plier Show on WGN radio, to discuss Chicago’s Lost “L”s. You can hear that discussion here.

Our Latest Book, Now Available:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

From the back cover:

Chicago’s system of elevated railways, known locally as the “L,” has run continuously since 1892 and, like the city, has never stood still. It helped neighborhoods grow, brought their increasingly diverse populations together, and gave the famous Loop its name. But today’s system has changed radically over the years. Chicago’s Lost “L”s tells the story of former lines such as Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Kenwood, Stockyards, Normal Park, Westchester, and Niles Center. It was once possible to take high-speed trains on the L directly to Aurora, Elgin, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The L started out as four different companies, two starting out using steam engines instead of electricity. Eventually, all four came together via the Union Loop. The L is more than a way of getting around. Its trains are a place where people meet and interact. Some say the best way to experience the city is via the L, with its second-story view. Chicago’s Lost “L”s is virtually a “secret history” of Chicago, and this is your ticket. David Sadowski grew up riding the L all over the city. He is the author of Chicago Trolleys and Building Chicago’s Subways and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog.

The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

Title Chicago’s Lost “L”s
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2021
ISBN 1467100007, 9781467100007
Length 128 pages

Chapters:
01. The South Side “L”
02. The Lake Street “L”
03. The Metropolitan “L”
04. The Northwestern “L”
05. The Union Loop
06. Lost Equipment
07. Lost Interurbans
08. Lost Terminals
09. Lost… and Found

Each copy purchased here will be signed by the author, and you will also receive a bonus facsimile of a 1926 Chicago Rapid Transit Company map, with interesting facts about the “L” on the reverse side.

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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For Shipping Elsewhere:

NEW DVD:

A Tribute to the North Shore Line

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the demise of the fabled North Shore Line interurban in January 2013, Jeffrey L. Wien and Bradley Criss made a very thorough and professional video presentation, covering the entire route between Chicago and Milwaukee and then some. Sadly, both men are gone now, but their work remains, making this video a tribute to them, as much as it is a tribute to the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee.

Jeff drew on his own vast collections of movie films, both his own and others such as the late William C. Hoffman, wrote and gave the narration. Bradley acted as video editor, and added authentic sound effects from archival recordings of the North Shore Line.

It was always Jeff’s intention to make this video available to the public, but unfortunately, this did not happen in his lifetime. Now, as the caretakers of Jeff’s railfan legacy, we are proud to offer this excellent two-hour program to you for the first time.  The result is a fitting tribute to what Jeff called his “Perpetual Adoration,” which was the name of a stop on the interurban.

Jeff was a wholehearted supporter of our activities, and the proceeds from the sale of this disc will help defray some of the expenses of keeping the Trolley Dodger web site going.

Total time – 121:22

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.99 (Includes shipping within the United States)

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Outtakes From Chicago’s Lost “L”s (Part One)

A northbound midday express train passes the 18th Street "L" station, just prior to the October 1943 opening the State Street Subway. The new signals that controlled access to the subway are already in place. A wooden Pullman-built trailer, built around the turn of the century, is being pushed by two early 1920s 4000-series cars. Once the subway opened, all 455 steel-bodied cars were needed there, and mixed consists such as these became a thing of the past. When the Chicago Transit Authority made a major revision of north-south service in 1949, the third track here was taken out of service, and was eventually removed. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

A northbound midday express train passes the 18th Street “L” station, just prior to the October 1943 opening the State Street Subway. The new signals that controlled access to the subway are already in place. A wooden Pullman-built trailer, built around the turn of the century, is being pushed by two early 1920s 4000-series cars. Once the subway opened, all 455 steel-bodied cars were needed there, and mixed consists such as these became a thing of the past. When the Chicago Transit Authority made a major revision of north-south service in 1949, the third track here was taken out of service, and was eventually removed. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

We are pleased to report that our new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s is now 100% finished, and will be released by Arcadia Publishing on July 12, 2021.  The final proofing process took several days, as there were a number of changes I wanted to make.

We have already received pre-orders for more than 60 copies, better than either of our two previous books.  You will find ordering information at the end of this post, and also on our Online Store.

How does a book like this get made? I am sure the process varies for every author, but for me, it starts out with an idea. I wanted to do a book about the “L”, but I also wanted it to be different than any of the others that are out there.

Once I had settled on my theme, and had determined the chapter titles, I started looking at images, lots of them. I have a collection of perhaps 30,000 digitized images, and I went through all of them– three times. I put the 500 or so images that I considered “possibles” into a folder, and from this, I continued the winnowing down process, until I had a more reasonable number (there are usually around 230 images or so in this type of book).

But this was just the start of the work. I had to put the images into an order that made sense, and then try to write captions for them.

In the process of doing this, it became clear to me that each and every image in the book had to have a clear purpose for being there, and couldn’t just be a place holder. If I couldn’t come up with an interesting and informative caption, there was really no point in including that particular photo.

That’s when the narrative of the book starts to become clear, and you eventually figure out what the story is you are trying to tell. You see what’s missing, and have to seek out the missing images that will help you fill the holes in your narrative.  Often, these have to be purchased outright, and many of the images in the book are taken from original negatives and slides in our own collections, all made possible by your purchases and donations.

Over the course of many months, nearly half the images in my lineup got replaced by others. It’s always the oldest pictures that are the hardest to find. This process took longer for Chicago’s Lost “L”s because of the delays caused by the pandemic.

A book such as this is a partnership between the author and the publisher. They have requirements and standards of their own, and once a book is written and submitted, things go back and forth between author and editor several times, until everyone is happy with the results.

Every effort has been made to make this the best and most comprehensive book on this subject, and we sincerely hope you will enjoy reading it!

In today’s post, (part one of two) we feature some of the images that ultimately were not selected for the book. But they are still interesting in their own right, and we hope they will whet your appetite for Chicago’s Lost “L”s. We’ll see you nexdt time with another batch of outtakes.

-David Sadowski

PS- FYI, we have a Facebook auxiliary for the Trolley Dodger, which currently has 354 members.

This is how the end of the Jackson Park "L" looked for many years at 63rd Street and Stony Island Avenue. The "L" had gone about a block further east during the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition to connect to the experimental Columbian Intramural Railway. In this early 1950s view, a CTA 63rd Street bus has turned the corner onto Stoney Island, as this was the end of the line. Behind the "L" station, we can see a sign advertising the Tower Theater, open from 1926 to 1956, built by the Lubliner and Trinz chain. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

This is how the end of the Jackson Park “L” looked for many years at 63rd Street and Stony Island Avenue. The “L” had gone about a block further east during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition to connect to the experimental Columbian Intramural Railway. In this early 1950s view, a CTA 63rd Street bus has turned the corner onto Stoney Island, as this was the end of the line. Behind the “L” station, we can see a sign advertising the Tower Theater, open from 1926 to 1956, built by the Lubliner and Trinz chain. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

Inventor Frank Julian Sprague was hired by the South Side "L" to equip their cars with electricity (powered by third rail) and multiple unit operation, his latest invention. Here, "L" car 139 is being tested on Harrison Curve on April 16, 1898. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

Inventor Frank Julian Sprague was hired by the South Side “L” to equip their cars with electricity (powered by third rail) and multiple unit operation, his latest invention. Here, “L” car 139 is being tested on Harrison Curve on April 16, 1898. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

Service on the South Side "L" began under steam power, as seen here in this 1893 view of a train on 63rd Street just west of Cottage Grove. Locomotive #41 was built by Baldwin. Steam was replaced by electricity in the late 1890s. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

Service on the South Side “L” began under steam power, as seen here in this 1893 view of a train on 63rd Street just west of Cottage Grove. Locomotive #41 was built by Baldwin. Steam was replaced by electricity in the late 1890s. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

The Normal Park "L" was the shortest branch on the rapid transit system. Here we see the end of the line at 69th Street, looking east in 1949. The terminal here was designed for extension, but this did not come to pass. This branch closed in 1954. The sign on the train indicates it is a Ravenswood Express. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

The Normal Park “L” was the shortest branch on the rapid transit system. Here we see the end of the line at 69th Street, looking east in 1949. The terminal here was designed for extension, but this did not come to pass. This branch closed in 1954. The sign on the train indicates it is a Ravenswood Express. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

Shortly before the Stock Yards branch was discontinued in 1957, a single-car wooden train heads west towards the Exchange station. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

Shortly before the Stock Yards branch was discontinued in 1957, a single-car wooden train heads west towards the Exchange station. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

In this view at Adams and Wabash station circa 1939, we see the rears of two "L" cars that are both heading away from us, as both Loop tracks then ran in a counter-clockwise direction. The train at left is a Lake Street "L", while the one at right may have been working in north-south service. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

In this view at Adams and Wabash station circa 1939, we see the rears of two “L” cars that are both heading away from us, as both Loop tracks then ran in a counter-clockwise direction. The train at left is a Lake Street “L”, while the one at right may have been working in north-south service. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

This circa 1910 view of Indiana Junction on the South Side "L" looks to the southwest. Once branch lines were opened here, going to Kenwood and the Stock Yards, this became a busy transfer point. The "L" tracks here ran parallel to 40th Street and were adjacent to the Chicago Junction Railway's freight line, seen at right. A southbound Jackson Park Express train runs on the middle track, turning south, with its next stop at 43rd Street. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

This circa 1910 view of Indiana Junction on the South Side “L” looks to the southwest. Once branch lines were opened here, going to Kenwood and the Stock Yards, this became a busy transfer point. The “L” tracks here ran parallel to 40th Street and were adjacent to the Chicago Junction Railway’s freight line, seen at right. A southbound Jackson Park Express train runs on the middle track, turning south, with its next stop at 43rd Street. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

The South Side "L" was Chicago's first, and was also known as the Alley "L". On September 5, 1890, a connecting span is raised at what became the 35th Street station. Service began in 1892. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

The South Side “L” was Chicago’s first, and was also known as the Alley “L”. On September 5, 1890, a connecting span is raised at what became the 35th Street station. Service began in 1892. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the triangular Stohr Arcade Building at Wilson Avenue and Broadway in 1909, part of which was underneath the Northwestern "L" structure. Within a decade of its construction, "L" service led to rapid development of the Uptown neighborhood, and the Stohr Arcade was replaced by Arthur U. Gerber's Uptown Union Station in 1923. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the triangular Stohr Arcade Building at Wilson Avenue and Broadway in 1909, part of which was underneath the Northwestern “L” structure. Within a decade of its construction, “L” service led to rapid development of the Uptown neighborhood, and the Stohr Arcade was replaced by Arthur U. Gerber’s Uptown Union Station in 1923. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

The view looking north from the Wilson Avenue Lower Terminal between 1909 and 1922, showing the Stohr Arcade Building at the intersection of Wilson and Broadway. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

The view looking north from the Wilson Avenue Lower Terminal between 1909 and 1922, showing the Stohr Arcade Building at the intersection of Wilson and Broadway. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

We are looking east from Exchange on the Stock Yards branch. The time is circa 1949.

We are looking east from Exchange on the Stock Yards branch. The time is circa 1949.

The stations on the Stock Yards loop had but one side platform, as there was only a single track. This is the Armour station,

The stations on the Stock Yards loop had but one side platform, as there was only a single track. This is the Armour station,

A two-car train of wooden "L" cars on the single-track Stock Yards branch in 1946. This photo has been attributed to Charles Keevil.

A two-car train of wooden “L” cars on the single-track Stock Yards branch in 1946. This photo has been attributed to Charles Keevil.

CTA 1780 heads up an "A" train at Marion Street in Oak Park. The ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L" was relocated onto the nearby C&NW embankment in 1962. This picture was probably taken between 1948 and 1955.

CTA 1780 heads up an “A” train at Marion Street in Oak Park. The ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L” was relocated onto the nearby C&NW embankment in 1962. This picture was probably taken between 1948 and 1955.

Service to Wilson Avenue via the "L" commenced in 1900, but the lower-level station did not open until March 5, 1907, with this modest station house designed by Arthur U. Gerber. In the book, I chose to use a different image, taken on opening day, that shows the other side of this building and the lower level tracks.

Service to Wilson Avenue via the “L” commenced in 1900, but the lower-level station did not open until March 5, 1907, with this modest station house designed by Arthur U. Gerber. In the book, I chose to use a different image, taken on opening day, that shows the other side of this building and the lower level tracks.

A 1908 view of the Argyle station on the Northwestern "L", shortly after service was extended between Uptown and Evanston at ground level. The "L" took over tracks belonging to the Milwaukee Road via a lease arrangement. By 1915, the "L' was gradually being elevated here onto a new embankment, which is now itself in the process of being rebuilt after a century of use. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

A 1908 view of the Argyle station on the Northwestern “L”, shortly after service was extended between Uptown and Evanston at ground level. The “L” took over tracks belonging to the Milwaukee Road via a lease arrangement. By 1915, the “L’ was gradually being elevated here onto a new embankment, which is now itself in the process of being rebuilt after a century of use. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

This circa 1952 shot of CTA 6097-6098 was taken from the LaSalle and Van Buren platform, looking west towards the junction at Wells and Van Buren. In the distance, you can see the Franklin Street station, used by Metropolitan "L" trains. It was not on the Loop itself. (George Trapp Collection)

This circa 1952 shot of CTA 6097-6098 was taken from the LaSalle and Van Buren platform, looking west towards the junction at Wells and Van Buren. In the distance, you can see the Franklin Street station, used by Metropolitan “L” trains. It was not on the Loop itself. (George Trapp Collection)

The façade of Wells Street Terminal, after it was renovated in the late 1920s, with the addition of two levels. It was designed by Chicago Rapid Transit Company staff architect Arthur U. Gerber. (Jack Bejna Collection)

The façade of Wells Street Terminal, after it was renovated in the late 1920s, with the addition of two levels. It was designed by Chicago Rapid Transit Company staff architect Arthur U. Gerber. (Jack Bejna Collection)

We are looking west along Harrison at Wabash on November 12, 1928. In 2003, the Chicago Transit Authority straightened out this jog with a section of new “L” structure, occupying the area where the building at left once was.

The old Cermak Road station on the south Side "L". Note there are three tracks here. This station was closed in 1977 and removed. A new station replaced it in 2015.

The old Cermak Road station on the south Side “L”. Note there are three tracks here. This station was closed in 1977 and removed. A new station replaced it in 2015.

A train of 4000s, signed for Jackson Park via the Subway, in 1947. If I am reading the sign correctly, this is 31st Street, a station the CTA closed in 1949. There was also apparently a Chicago White Sox home game when this picture was taken. M. E. writes: "pict673.jpg features a Jackson Park train at 31st St. Notice three tracks. The middle track was used, although I am unsure under what circumstances. One possibility that comes to mind is that the Kenwood line (until it became a shuttle out of Indiana Ave.) ran on this trackage into the Loop and up to Wilson. The Kenwood was a local. The Englewood and Jackson Park trains sometimes bypassed the Kenwood locals using the middle track. There were switches up and down the line to enable moving to and from the middle track. Another possibility is that at one point the North Shore ran trains south as far as 63rd and Dorchester (1400 East) on the Jackson Park line. Perhaps some CNS&M trains used the middle track. One impossibility is that the Englewood and Jackson Park trains used the middle track the whole way from south of Indiana Ave. to the Loop. I say this was not possible because all the stations on this line were on the outer sides of the outside tracks. I don't recall any Englewood or Jackson Park trains running express on the middle track along this stretch. By the way, prior to the 1949 changes, only the Jackson Park line ran north to Howard. The Englewood ran to Ravenswood (to Lawrence and Kimball)."

A train of 4000s, signed for Jackson Park via the Subway, in 1947. If I am reading the sign correctly, this is 31st Street, a station the CTA closed in 1949. There was also apparently a Chicago White Sox home game when this picture was taken. M. E. writes: “pict673.jpg features a Jackson Park train at 31st St. Notice three tracks. The middle track was used, although I am unsure under what circumstances. One possibility that comes to mind is that the Kenwood line (until it became a shuttle out of Indiana Ave.) ran on this trackage into the Loop and up to Wilson. The Kenwood was a local. The Englewood and Jackson Park trains sometimes bypassed the Kenwood locals using the middle track. There were switches up and down the line to enable moving to and from the middle track.
Another possibility is that at one point the North Shore ran trains south as far as 63rd and Dorchester (1400 East) on the Jackson Park line. Perhaps some CNS&M trains used the middle track.
One impossibility is that the Englewood and Jackson Park trains used the middle track the whole way from south of Indiana Ave. to the Loop. I say this was not possible because all the stations on this line were on the outer sides of the outside tracks. I don’t recall any Englewood or Jackson Park trains running express on the middle track along this stretch.
By the way, prior to the 1949 changes, only the Jackson Park line ran north to Howard. The Englewood ran to Ravenswood (to Lawrence and Kimball).”

61st Street on the South Side "L", looking north on November 13, 1944.

61st Street on the South Side “L”, looking north on November 13, 1944.

This old photo shows South Side Rapid Transit car 131 at 63rd Street in 1899. Note the wires on the tops of the cars, which were used for current collection via overhead wire in yard areas that did not yet have third rail installed. (George Trapp Collection)

This old photo shows South Side Rapid Transit car 131 at 63rd Street in 1899. Note the wires on the tops of the cars, which were used for current collection via overhead wire in yard areas that did not yet have third rail installed. (George Trapp Collection)

A track map of the Kenwood branch, which ran between Indiana Avenue and 42nd Place. It branched off the South Side "L".

A track map of the Kenwood branch, which ran between Indiana Avenue and 42nd Place. It branched off the South Side “L”.

A track map showing the Stock Yard branch, which operated as a shuttle starting at Indiana Avenue on the South Side "L". It didn't really have an end of the line, since part of the line ran in a single-track loop.

A track map showing the Stock Yard branch, which operated as a shuttle starting at Indiana Avenue on the South Side “L”. It didn’t really have an end of the line, since part of the line ran in a single-track loop.

CTA 2067-2068 head up a westbound Lake Street train in June 1965.

CTA 2067-2068 head up a westbound Lake Street train in June 1965.

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.

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.

This is an inspection train at the Lake Street Transfer "L" station, which provided connections between the Lake Street "L", on the lower level, and the Metropolitan above. The higher level station was closed in February 1951, when the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway opened.

This is an inspection train at the Lake Street Transfer “L” station, which provided connections between the Lake Street “L”, on the lower level, and the Metropolitan above. The higher level station was closed in February 1951, when the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway opened.

CTA 3119, signed as a Lake Street local, is being stored on the third track at Hamlin in August 1948. By then, A/B "skip stop" service had been in effect for some months. It's possible this car was no longer being used on the line. Don's Rail Photos: "3119 was built by St. Louis Car in 1902 as LSERR 119. In 1913 it was renumbered 3119 and became CRT 3119 in 1923."

CTA 3119, signed as a Lake Street local, is being stored on the third track at Hamlin in August 1948. By then, A/B “skip stop” service had been in effect for some months. It’s possible this car was no longer being used on the line. Don’s Rail Photos: “3119 was built by St. Louis Car in 1902 as LSERR 119. In 1913 it was renumbered 3119 and became CRT 3119 in 1923.”

CRT S-200 in the Lake and Hamlin yard. Don's Rail Photos says, "S-200 was built by Barney & Smith in 1901 at M-WSER 783. It was renumbered in 1913 as 2783. In 1916 it was rebuilt as a work motor and numbered S-200. It became CRT S-200 in 1923." In this photo, it looks like it is being used to string trolley wire. You can see the ramp leading up to the "L" at right. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT S-200 in the Lake and Hamlin yard. Don’s Rail Photos says, “S-200 was built by Barney & Smith in 1901 at M-WSER 783. It was renumbered in 1913 as 2783. In 1916 it was rebuilt as a work motor and numbered S-200. It became CRT S-200 in 1923.” In this photo, it looks like it is being used to string trolley wire. You can see the ramp leading up to the “L” at right. (George Trapp Collection)

An eastbound Garfield Park train approaches the Loop in the 1940s, crossing over the Chicago River. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

An eastbound Garfield Park train approaches the Loop in the 1940s, crossing over the Chicago River. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

This may be an "as new" photo showing Metropolitan West Side "L" car 876. Don's Rail Photos: "2873 thru 2887 were built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 873 thru 887. In 1913 they were renumbered 2873 thru 2887 and in 1923 they became CRT 2873 thru 2987." (George Trapp Collection)

This may be an “as new” photo showing Metropolitan West Side “L” car 876. Don’s Rail Photos: “2873 thru 2887 were built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 873 thru 887. In 1913 they were renumbered 2873 thru 2887 and in 1923 they became CRT 2873 thru 2987.” (George Trapp Collection)

A Douglas Park "B" train heads west at Halsted on the Met main line, prior to the removal of two tracks for expressway construction.

A Douglas Park “B” train heads west at Halsted on the Met main line, prior to the removal of two tracks for expressway construction.

A two car CRT "L" train in December 1935, heading west toward the Douglas Pak "L"s end-of-the-line at Oak Park Avenue in Berwyn.

A two car CRT “L” train in December 1935, heading west toward the Douglas Pak “L”s end-of-the-line at Oak Park Avenue in Berwyn.

The Pulaski station on the Douglas Park "L" on May 10, 1958. There was a yard there at the time. This was once the western terminus of Douglas, and the curved track visible here was part of a turning loop. (Lawrence H. Boehuring Photo)

The Pulaski station on the Douglas Park “L” on May 10, 1958. There was a yard there at the time. This was once the western terminus of Douglas, and the curved track visible here was part of a turning loop. (Lawrence H. Boehuring Photo)

Around July 1, 1957, a westbound CTA Garfield Park "L" train is westbound on the Van Buren temporary trackage at California Avenue (2800 W.).

Around July 1, 1957, a westbound CTA Garfield Park “L” train is westbound on the Van Buren temporary trackage at California Avenue (2800 W.).

A night shot of CTA 2810 and 2818 in the Laramie Yards on February 1, 1957. By then, the Congress Expressway was open as far as Laramie and was adjacent to the Garfield Park "L". It was still under construction west of here, and the "L" ran on temporary trackage. (Robert Selle Photo)

A night shot of CTA 2810 and 2818 in the Laramie Yards on February 1, 1957. By then, the Congress Expressway was open as far as Laramie and was adjacent to the Garfield Park “L”. It was still under construction west of here, and the “L” ran on temporary trackage. (Robert Selle Photo)

The CRT Westchester branch at Roosevelt Road, circa 1929-1930. Service along this line opened in 1926, and when the line was extended, local officials insisted that tracks not cross Roosevelt at grade, thereby necessitating this grade separation project. The platform at left was later moved into the open cut, although the original station house was retained. Service to Mannheim began in 1930. The line was abandoned in 1951. We are looking north. (George Trapp Collection)

The CRT Westchester branch at Roosevelt Road, circa 1929-1930. Service along this line opened in 1926, and when the line was extended, local officials insisted that tracks not cross Roosevelt at grade, thereby necessitating this grade separation project. The platform at left was later moved into the open cut, although the original station house was retained. Service to Mannheim began in 1930. The line was abandoned in 1951. We are looking north. (George Trapp Collection)

A track map showing the Metropolitan "L" branches going to Logan Square and Humboldt Park (Lawndale). All four Met lines came together at Marshfield.

A track map showing the Metropolitan “L” branches going to Logan Square and Humboldt Park (Lawndale). All four Met lines came together at Marshfield.

The Logan Square terminal in 1946. "L" service terminated here from 1895 to 1970, when the CTA extended service to the northwest via a new subway. A portion of this building still exists, although considerably altered. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

The Logan Square terminal in 1946. “L” service terminated here from 1895 to 1970, when the CTA extended service to the northwest via a new subway. A portion of this building still exists, although considerably altered. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

A Metropolitan "L" motorman in the early 1900s.

A Metropolitan “L” motorman in the early 1900s.

The Humboldt Park "L" station at Lawndale Avenue (3700 W), which was the end of the line. There was just the one platform here. Since the Met hoped to eventually extend the line (which never happened), there was no terminal as such, and trains were stored on the other two tracks when not in use.

The Humboldt Park “L” station at Lawndale Avenue (3700 W), which was the end of the line. There was just the one platform here. Since the Met hoped to eventually extend the line (which never happened), there was no terminal as such, and trains were stored on the other two tracks when not in use.

You would be forgiven for not recognizing this location, but that's the Western Avenue station on the Humboldt Park "L", just north of North Avenue. The station was closed in 1952, probably just a few months before this picture was taken. If the station was open, there would be a sign advertising this, similar to ones seen in some of the other pictures in this post. You can also see trolley bus wires, used on North Avenue. PCC 7151 is a two-man car, and passengers are boarding at the rear. This portion of the old Humboldt Park line was not demolished for another decade, and the story goes that it would have been used by Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban trains as a midday storage area, if service on that line could have continued after 1957.

You would be forgiven for not recognizing this location, but that’s the Western Avenue station on the Humboldt Park “L”, just north of North Avenue. The station was closed in 1952, probably just a few months before this picture was taken. If the station was open, there would be a sign advertising this, similar to ones seen in some of the other pictures in this post. You can also see trolley bus wires, used on North Avenue. PCC 7151 is a two-man car, and passengers are boarding at the rear. This portion of the old Humboldt Park line was not demolished for another decade, and the story goes that it would have been used by Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban trains as a midday storage area, if service on that line could have continued after 1957.

Robert Selle took this photo on June 21, 1958, looking out the front window of a northbound CTA Douglas Park train. We are about to pass the old Met station at Madison Street on the Logan Square-Humboldt Park branch, unused since 1951. From 1954 to 1958, Douglas trains were routed downtown over the Lake Street "L" via a new connection seen off in the distance. This is the current route of the CTA Pink Line, but the day after this picture was taken, Douglas trains began using the Congress-Dearborn-Milwaukee subway instead.

Robert Selle took this photo on June 21, 1958, looking out the front window of a northbound CTA Douglas Park train. We are about to pass the old Met station at Madison Street on the Logan Square-Humboldt Park branch, unused since 1951. From 1954 to 1958, Douglas trains were routed downtown over the Lake Street “L” via a new connection seen off in the distance. This is the current route of the CTA Pink Line, but the day after this picture was taken, Douglas trains began using the Congress-Dearborn-Milwaukee subway instead.

Our Latest Book, Now Available for Pre-Order:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

Arcadia Publishing will release our new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s on July 12, 2021. Reserve your copy today!

From the back cover:

Chicago’s system of elevated railways, known locally as the “L,” has run continuously since 1892 and, like the city, has never stood still. It helped neighborhoods grow, brought their increasingly diverse populations together, and gave the famous Loop its name. But today’s system has changed radically over the years. Chicago’s Lost “L”s tells the story of former lines such as Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Kenwood, Stockyards, Normal Park, Westchester, and Niles Center. It was once possible to take high-speed trains on the L directly to Aurora, Elgin, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The L started out as four different companies, two starting out using steam engines instead of electricity. Eventually, all four came together via the Union Loop. The L is more than a way of getting around. Its trains are a place where people meet and interact. Some say the best way to experience the city is via the L, with its second-story view. Chicago’s Lost “L”s is virtually a “secret history” of Chicago, and this is your ticket. David Sadowski grew up riding the L all over the city. He is the author of Chicago Trolleys and Building Chicago’s Subways and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog.

The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

Title Chicago’s Lost “L”s
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2021
ISBN 1467100007, 9781467100007
Length 128 pages

Chapters:
01. The South Side “L”
02. The Lake Street “L”
03. The Metropolitan “L”
04. The Northwestern “L”
05. The Union Loop
06. Lost Equipment
07. Lost Interurbans
08. Lost Terminals
09. Lost… and Found

Each copy purchased here will be signed by the author, and you will also receive a bonus facsimile of a 1926 Chicago Rapid Transit Company map, with interesting facts about the “L” on the reverse side.

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

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NEW DVD:

A Tribute to the North Shore Line

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the demise of the fabled North Shore Line interurban in January 2013, Jeffrey L. Wien and Bradley Criss made a very thorough and professional video presentation, covering the entire route between Chicago and Milwaukee and then some. Sadly, both men are gone now, but their work remains, making this video a tribute to them, as much as it is a tribute to the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee.

Jeff drew on his own vast collections of movie films, both his own and others such as the late William C. Hoffman, wrote and gave the narration. Bradley acted as video editor, and added authentic sound effects from archival recordings of the North Shore Line.

It was always Jeff’s intention to make this video available to the public, but unfortunately, this did not happen in his lifetime. Now, as the caretakers of Jeff’s railfan legacy, we are proud to offer this excellent two-hour program to you for the first time.  The result is a fitting tribute to what Jeff called his “Perpetual Adoration,” which was the name of a stop on the interurban.

Jeff was a wholehearted supporter of our activities, and the proceeds from the sale of this disc will help defray some of the expenses of keeping the Trolley Dodger web site going.

Total time – 121:22

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.99 (Includes shipping within the United States)

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

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Legends and Legacies

All in all, I would have to say this is an amazing photograph. It shows Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 22 on June 30, 1943, in the middle of World War II, and just two years before streetcars were abandoned in this coastal town (Wildwood) in New Jersey. From what I have read, the war and the resulting nightly blackouts negatively affected tourism and contributed to the demise of the streetcars here. With such an early abandonment, color photos of this operation are very rare, indeed, and the colors on this Red Border Kodachrome have held up quite well. A sign on the car advertises Marty Bohn and His Floor Show at the "Nut Club." The blackouts were not without reason, as German submarines were just offshore, and sometimes crew members would sneak ashore.

All in all, I would have to say this is an amazing photograph. It shows Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 22 on June 30, 1943, in the middle of World War II, and just two years before streetcars were abandoned in this coastal town (Wildwood) in New Jersey. From what I have read, the war and the resulting nightly blackouts negatively affected tourism and contributed to the demise of the streetcars here. With such an early abandonment, color photos of this operation are very rare, indeed, and the colors on this Red Border Kodachrome have held up quite well. A sign on the car advertises Marty Bohn and His Floor Show at the “Nut Club.” The blackouts were not without reason, as German submarines were just offshore, and sometimes crew members would sneak ashore.

I am both humbled and grateful beyond measure that my late friend Jeffrey Wien made me the beneficiary of his extensive photographic collection (except for his motion picture films, which he donated to the Chicago Film Archives).

Naturally, I would rather that he still be around to enjoy his collection, comment on my posts, and point out where I got something wrong, or help identify some locations. But unfortunately, we don’t get to choose in these matters.

I think the best way I can honor his memory is to keep up the work of historic preservation and education that meant so much to him.

While this post may not have an overall theme, it is full of legends and legacies. It is thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of many people, Jeff included, that anything at all has been saved from the electric railways of the past. Some of the photos here were taken after the North Shore Line quit, and show various railcars sitting around, waiting to be saved or scrapped. There are also pictures of the fledgling and somewhat ramshackle early days of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum, at its original and temporary home in North Chicago.

You if had told one of the founders of what is now IRM back then all the progress that has been made since at Union, they hardly could have believed it possible. Institutions like IRM are saving this history and preserving it for future generations, while also making it possible to have some of the same experiences riding the equipment in the collection, that people enjoyed in the past.

If we can maintain the same spirit, all this important history will be our legacy to those who come after us. I am intent on doing my part.

-David Sadowski

PS- We thank Jack Bejna, Andre Kristopans, William Shapotkin, and Colin Wisner for contributing to this post.

We also have a Facebook auxiliary for The Trolley Dodger where you can participate further. It is a private group, so unfortunately you won’t be able to see the content unless you join. It is free. As of this writing, we have 183 members.

From Jeff Wien’s Collection