Recent Finds and New Releases

A colorized view of the Indianapolis Traction Terminal waiting room, circa 1909.

A colorized view of the Indianapolis Traction Terminal waiting room, circa 1909.

Besides our usual crop of classic traction photos, this time we also have exciting news about two new products related to the Railroad Record Club. Our good friend Ken Gear has been hard at work on collecting all things related to the late William Steventon’s railroad audio recordings and releases.

The result is a new book on disc, A Guide To the Railroad Record Club (see article below). This was quite a project and labor of love on Ken’s part!

Kenneth Gear‘s doggedness and determination resulted in his tracking down and purchasing the surviving RRC master tapes a few years back, and he has been hard at work having them digitized, at considerable personal expense, so that you and many others can enjoy them with today’s technology. We have already released a few RRC Rarities CDs from Ken’s collection.

When Ken heard the digitized version of RRC LP #08, Canadian National: Canadian Railroading in the Days of Steam, recorded by the late Elwin Purington, he was surprised to find the original tapes were more than twice the length of the 10″ LP. The resulting LP had been considerably edited down to the limited space available, 15 minutes per side.

The scenes were the same, but each was greatly shortened. Now, on compact disc, it is possible to present the full length recordings of this classic LP, which was one of Steventon’s best sellers and an all-around favorite, for the very first time.

Even better, a considerable part of the proceeds of these releases, both available through our Online Store or through the links below, will go to defray some of the thousands of dollars Ken has spent in trying to preserve this history for future generations. Chances are, without his efforts, the Steventon Railroad Record Club collection of tapes and other artifacts would have ended up in a dumpster by now, for lack of interest on anyone’s part in saving them.

For this, Ken deserves the thanks of anyone who enjoys hearing these historic recordings.

-David Sadowski

PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 643 members.

Kenneth Gear now has a Facebook group for all things related to the Railroad Record Club, and other railroad audio recordings. Again, it is a private group.

Auction for Jim Martin’s North Shore Line Sign

Jim Martin is a great guy, and you may have seen some of the North Shore Line videos he has posted to YouTube, taken from his original color 8mm movies. He recently contacted us, as he wants to sell an original porcelain-on-metal North Shore Line sign he purchased from legendary Chicago bookseller Owen Davies in 1962.  (You can read more about Owen Davies here.)

This must have been from a Shore Line Route station, since the North Shore Line was still in operation at that time. You can find out more about this eBay auction here. Although we are running the auction and providing our “good offices,” 100% of the proceeds will go to Jim.

It ends at 9:02 PM Central Time on Friday, December 17th. Good luck with your bids.

Now Available – A Guide to the Railroad Record Club E-Book:

Price: $19.99

$10 from the sale of each RRC E-Book will go to Kenneth Gear to repay him for some of his costs in saving this important history.

As many Trolley Dodger readers are aware David and I have been trying to preserve the legacy of William Steventon’s Railroad Record Club. To that end we have collected all the released LPs and reissued them on CDs. We have posted many RRC traction photographs in this blog, put together a history of the club and gathered biographical information about William Steventon and his recording associates.

We uncovered some interesting information about the techniques and equipment used to make field recordings in the pre-digital age and the process of producing the LPs. I acquired the William Steventon estate and discovered a veritable treasure trove of unreleased audio, master tapes, original artwork commissioned for the album jackets, test pressings, movie films and numerous artifacts from all phases of the record making procedure from field tape to released LP.

Despite all that we accomplished we still had one very important question to answer. Now that we had all this material, how do we make it available to everyone who would be interested.

Much audio has been donated to museums and historical societies and CDs are offered for sale in the online store. The history of the club and the story of my efforts to buy the estate have appeared in this blog, but still, that didn’t seem to be enough. We wanted to do more. This wonderful historical material deserves more.

David finally hit on the perfect idea, he suggested that I write an eBook. This format would allow us to present not only a more detailed history of the club and an updated account of my purchase of the estate, but it could also include audio files, photo scans and movie files. Virtually all the Railroad Record Club archive could be gathered into one place!

I began to put the eBook together over a year ago. I rewrote the RRC history that appeared in this blog adding a lot of newly discovered data. Next, I revised my account of the estate purchase and wrote and entirely new chapter detailing the preservation efforts and the cost it entailed. I made lists of every single object acquired and made notes on condition. I spent many days photographing every item including scores of record jackets, labels, pressing plates and test pressings from the many editions of each LP. Countless hours were spent scanning documents, personal letters, magazine ads and articles. Photographs from the collection needed scanning and retouching. All this had to be cataloged and organized and information from many different sources had to be interpreted and fit into the timeline of RRC milestones. A lot of time and effort went into making the Railroad Record Club archive available on a convenient and inexpensive data disc electronic book.

In addition to all of the above, I have compiled what I think is an invaluable resource for RRC enthusiasts. The eBook has a compendium section that contains details about every released record. Each LP’s entry has all the accumulated information we have so far been able to discover about a particular record. Details such as the original release date, reissue date, differences in the various edition jackets and liner notes, master tape specifics and recording dates are listed. There are photo scans of each of the LP’s jackets, labels, test pressings, print blocks, master tapes, pressing plates and artwork. An “Additional Information” section is included for each record detailing any interesting facts we uncovered about the recordist, railroad equipment or notable incidents occurring during the field recording. Best of all each record’s entry has bonus audio tracks that may include unreleased recordings, audio salvaged from ancient homemade records, radio programs and/or railroad sounds from tapes that were in Steventon’s personal collection. Here are a two sample photos of record labels and the “data sheet” entry for Record Number SP-6.

RAILROAD RECORD CLUB

COMPENDIUM

DATA SHEET

RECORD NUMBER: SP-6

TITLE: THE MILWAUKEE ROAD

Box Cab Locomotives On The Coast Division

RELEASED ON 12 INCH DISC ONLY

NRP MATRIX CODE: NR 15567

YEAR OF FIRST PRESSING: 1983

JACKET ILLUSTRATION NOTES:

1st edition jacket has a drawing of CMSt.P&P box cab locomotive No. 10500 by Marshall (Pat) McMahon.  Caption under drawing reads “No. 10500, later E-25 on Houser Way Renton, WA in the 1930’s. Drawn from a photo by James A. Turner in the warren W. Wing collection.”

Back has liner notes.

2nd edition jacket identical to 1st edition

SURVIVING MASTER TAPE(S):

None in the William Steventon estate.

DOCUMENT/PHOTO FOLDER CONTENTS:

(There may exist other editions and variations then those pictured)

1st edition jacket front and back

1st and 2nd edition labels

NRP test pressing labels side 1 and 2

Cassette card

McMahon CMSt.P&P box cab artwork

SOUND FOLDER CONTENTS:

Short excerpt from the unofficial sampler.

Elwin Purington CMSt.P&P box cab bonus track.

Sound folder notes:

Track 1:

In 1965 William Steventon ceased operating the Railroad Record Club as an actual “club.”

From then on all records were sold individually with no minimum to buy. He also stopped producing the sampler records at this time and no sampler records were made after the 8th year (1964).

To continue where Steventon left off an unofficial special pressings sampler has been made for this eBook.  Excerpts of approximately 3 minutes each have been added to the sounds folders of the special pressings records.

Track 2:

This track was recorded by and is narrated by Elwin Purington. The recordings were made at Black River Junction near Seattle, Washington in 1960. The audio was taken from a tape-recorded letter Purington made to Steventon in 1961. These are some of Purington’s earliest stereo recordings and are very realistic. The air horn on those box cab monsters might blow you right out of your chair!

The scene opens as a long train arrives at Black River Junction powered by a set of the old box cabs. Various switching maneuvers are made in the yard. Then the cars are taken north on the wye and a “flying switch” is made and the caboose is moved over to the head end of the locomotives. The caboose’s high pitched air whistle is heard as the train, caboose now leading, crosses a road. Now heading east the train does more switching work. With all local work completed the caboose is put back where it belongs and the train heads out on the south leg of the wye towards Tacoma.

Total: 15:44

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

On the jacket front this record is advertised as the 30th anniversary issue 1953-1983. Steventon always dated the beginning of the Railroad Record Club to 1953, the year he made his first railroad recordings.

With the exception for two tracks on side 1, this is the only RRC record recorded in true stereo.

This was the last all new Railroad Record Club release.

Steventon first heard these Milwaukee Road box cab recordings in 1961. It would be 22 years before the recordings were finally released on vinyl.

Elsewhere on the eBook are scans of traction photographs that were sold by the Railroad Record Club.

There is a movie file containing William Steventon’s railroad home movies with footage of the PRR, B&O, N&W and NY Central among others. Traction fans will certainly enjoy scenes of the Washington D. C. Capital Transit streetcars and freight operations. A few screenshots follow:

Every known Steventon recording date, location and subject railroad has been collected and organized into a list.

Record ideas that never came to be are discussed and some interesting facts about the records and the people that recorded them are revealed.

For instance:

William Steventon endured health problems from an early age and his father, an engineer on the New York Central, broke company rules by allowing young William in the cab with him for fear that the child may die without them having spent enough time together.

Record Number 9 was recorded by Thomas A. Hosick. He was co-inventor of the low-pollution, Eliptocline automotive steam vapor engine and was featured in a 1966 cover story in Popular Science magazine.

William Steventon had the assistance of an CNS&M train accident victim in securing permission to make recordings on board North Shore trains.

Record SP-6 was the last all new RRC record and the only one recorded in stereo.

Many other previously unknown facts about the 37-year history of the Railroad Record Club have been painstakingly collected and combined with rare audio and video, vintage ads, photographs, catalogs and much more. A more complete look at the Railroad Record Club would be impossible to produce.

Despite all the work and research that went into compiling this archive, profit and return on investment was not the driving force. Preservation was! It is our belief that the best way to ensure that the legacy of the RRC continues to educate and entertain for years to come is to get it into as many hands as possible. That is why we are offering this incredible amount of material for the low price of $19.99. Each part of this eBook is worth that price on its own. Hours of vintage railroad audio, two video programs and scores of traction photos are included for that one low price. The compendium will prove to be a much-used resource to anyone who is a Railroad Record Club devotee. Even if you have little interest in the RRC itself, the audio and video alone is an outstanding bargain. Please consider purchasing a copy and help David and I preserve the work that William Steventon and all his contributors worked so hard to create.

Kenneth Gear

Now Available:

RRC08D
Railroad Record Club #08 Deluxe Edition: Canadian National: Canadian Railroading in the Days of Steam, Recorded by Elwin Purington
The Complete Recording From the Original Master Tapes
Price: $15.99

Canadian National. Steaming giants pound high iron on mountain trails, rumble over trestles, hit torpedos and whistle for many road crossings. Mountain railroading with heavy power and lingering whistles! Includes locomotives 3566, 4301, 6013, 3560.

Total time – 72:57

$5 from the sale of RRC08D CD will go to Kenneth Gear to repay him for some of his costs in saving this important history.

A railfan takes his picture of Philadelphia Transportation Company 5205 on September 14, 1956.

A railfan takes his picture of Philadelphia Transportation Company 5205 on September 14, 1956.

CSL 2802 must have been a fan favorite, as it was used on fantrips both on June 12, 1940 and July 13, 1941. Chances are this trip might be the earlier one, if the Indianapolis sign was correct. Indianapolis Boulevard is in Hammond, on the Hammond, Whiting, and East Chicago line that stopped going into Indiana on June 9, 1940. Of course, fans often used to put all sorts of signs up during trips, even if they weren't going to those places.

CSL 2802 must have been a fan favorite, as it was used on fantrips both on June 12, 1940 and July 13, 1941. Chances are this trip might be the earlier one, if the Indianapolis sign was correct. Indianapolis Boulevard is in Hammond, on the Hammond, Whiting, and East Chicago line that stopped going into Indiana on June 9, 1940. Of course, fans often used to put all sorts of signs up during trips, even if they weren’t going to those places.

Brooklyn-Queens Transit 8258, a Peter Witt, was built by St. Louis Car Company in 1925. The trolley is on Stillwell Avenue at Coney Island.

Brooklyn-Queens Transit 8258, a Peter Witt, was built by St. Louis Car Company in 1925. The trolley is on Stillwell Avenue at Coney Island.

The same location today, courtesy of Mark J. Wolodarsky.

The same location today, courtesy of Mark J. Wolodarsky.

Milwaukee Electric heavyweight cars 1129 and 1135, along with CTA trolley bus 9192, at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago, IL in August 1959. It is now at Union as bus 192, its original number.

Milwaukee Electric heavyweight cars 1129 and 1135, along with CTA trolley bus 9192, at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago, IL in August 1959. It is now at Union as bus 192, its original number.

Illinois Terminal combine 277 was built by the St. Louis Car Company in 1913. Here it is at the IERM in North Chicago in August 1959.

Illinois Terminal combine 277 was built by the St. Louis Car Company in 1913. Here it is at the IERM in North Chicago in August 1959.

Indiana Railroad car 65 at the IERM site in North Chicago in August 1959. Don Ross: "65 was built by Pullman in 1931, #6399. The lounge section was replaced by a baggage section. 65 was sold to the Cedar Rapids & Iowa City as 120 in 1941. In 1954 it was purchased as the first car of the Illinois Railway Museum, which was known as the Illinois Electric Railway Museum at that time. I put in many enjoyable hours working on that car prior to 1960 when I moved to Peoria." It appears this picture was taken when the car was being repainted from CRANDIC colors to its original IR colors.

Indiana Railroad car 65 at the IERM site in North Chicago in August 1959. Don Ross: “65 was built by Pullman in 1931, #6399. The lounge section was replaced by a baggage section. 65 was sold to the Cedar Rapids & Iowa City as 120 in 1941. In 1954 it was purchased as the first car of the Illinois Railway Museum, which was known as the Illinois Electric Railway Museum at that time. I put in many enjoyable hours working on that car prior to 1960 when I moved to Peoria.” It appears this picture was taken when the car was being repainted from CRANDIC colors to its original IR colors.

This, and the next two pictures, show former Milwaukee Electric work car M-15 at East Troy in August 1959. Don's Rail Photos: "M15 was built at Cold Spring Shops in 1920 as a trailer, but it was motorized almost immediately. It was transferred to the isolated East Troy operation in 1939, and sold to the Municipality of East Troy in 1949. It is sold to WERHS in 1982 and now preserved at the IRM (since) 1989."

This, and the next two pictures, show former Milwaukee Electric work car M-15 at East Troy in August 1959. Don’s Rail Photos: “M15 was built at Cold Spring Shops in 1920 as a trailer, but it was motorized almost immediately. It was transferred to the isolated East Troy operation in 1939, and sold to the Municipality of East Troy in 1949. It is sold to WERHS in 1982 and now preserved at the IRM (since) 1989.”

North Shore Line city streetcar 354 at the IERM in North Chicago in August 1959. Don Ross: "354 was built by St Louis Car Co in January 1928, #1453. It became the last car on August 12, 1951. It was purchased by the president of the Chicago Hardware Foundry. It was painted into the green and red of CHF, but the motors were removed. The car was acquired by the Illinois Electric Railway Museum (now IRM). Restoration began in 1958 (I put many hours on the car), and it is now in operation in Union. When I visited the car in 1989, it brought back many happy memories."

North Shore Line city streetcar 354 at the IERM in North Chicago in August 1959. Don Ross: “354 was built by St Louis Car Co in January 1928, #1453. It became the last car on August 12, 1951. It was purchased by the president of the Chicago Hardware Foundry. It was painted into the green and red of CHF, but the motors were removed. The car was acquired by the Illinois Electric Railway Museum (now IRM). Restoration began in 1958 (I put many hours on the car), and it is now in operation in Union. When I visited the car in 1989, it brought back many happy memories.”

A two-car Milwaukee Electric interurban train at an unknown location, bound for Milwaukee. (Ray Muller Photo)

A two-car Milwaukee Electric interurban train at an unknown location, bound for Milwaukee.
(Ray Muller Photo)

Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee car 300. Don's Rail Photos: "300 thru 302 were built by Jewett in 1909 as mainline coaches. As the steel cars arrived, they were downgraded to local and school tripper service. In 1936 they became sleet cutters. In 1939 300 was turned over to the Central Electric Railfans Association as a private car. The ownership remained with the CNS&M, but the maintenance was taken over by CERA. During the war, with many members in service, CERA relinquished control, and the car was scrapped in 1947. 301 and 302 were retired in 1939 and scrapped in 1940."

Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee car 300. Don’s Rail Photos: “300 thru 302 were built by Jewett in 1909 as mainline coaches. As the steel cars arrived, they were downgraded to local and school tripper service. In 1936 they became sleet cutters. In 1939 300 was turned over to the Central Electric Railfans Association as a private car. The ownership remained with the CNS&M, but the maintenance was taken over by CERA. During the war, with many members in service, CERA relinquished control, and the car was scrapped in 1947. 301 and 302 were retired in 1939 and scrapped in 1940.”

CNS&M 300 in Highwood, IL, when it was the Central Electric Railfans' Association private car in 1941.

CNS&M 300 in Highwood, IL, when it was the Central Electric Railfans’ Association private car in 1941.

North Shore Line car 300 at an unknown location (somewhere along the Shore Line Route), possibly on the same 1941 fantrip as in the previous picture.

North Shore Line car 300 at an unknown location (somewhere along the Shore Line Route), possibly on the same 1941 fantrip as in the previous picture.

North Shore Line Birney car 336 in Milwaukee in 1946. The city streetcar franchise holder was the Chicago & Milwaukee Electric, predecessor of the CNS&M, so that's how the cars were lettered.

North Shore Line Birney car 336 in Milwaukee in 1946. The city streetcar franchise holder was the Chicago & Milwaukee Electric, predecessor of the CNS&M, so that’s how the cars were lettered.

North Shore Line Birney car 329, built by Cincinnati Car Company in 1922, at the Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee on June 21, 1947. (Bob McLeod Photo)

North Shore Line Birney car 329, built by Cincinnati Car Company in 1922, at the Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee on June 21, 1947. (Bob McLeod Photo)

North Shore Line city streetcar 360 in Waukegan, signed to go to the Naval Station.

North Shore Line city streetcar 360 in Waukegan, signed to go to the Naval Station.

North Shore Line wood car 200, probably near the end of its service life in the 1930s.

North Shore Line wood car 200, probably near the end of its service life in the 1930s.

North Shore Line combination car 81, built by American in 1910, was taken out of regular service in 1935, and retired in 1937. (James B. M. Johnson Photo)

North Shore Line combination car 81, built by American in 1910, was taken out of regular service in 1935, and retired in 1937. (James B. M. Johnson Photo)

Chicago Surface Lines 4008 is eastbound on Madison at Laramie on October 25, 1945, sporting "tiger stripes."

Chicago Surface Lines 4008 is eastbound on Madison at Laramie on October 25, 1945, sporting “tiger stripes.”

The Grand Rapids Railroad did not number their streetcars, giving them names instead. This is the "James W. Ransom," named after an early settler to this area. Buses were substituted for streetcars here in 1935. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)

The Grand Rapids Railroad did not number their streetcars, giving them names instead. This is the “James W. Ransom,” named after an early settler to this area. Buses were substituted for streetcars here in 1935. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)

Chicago Surface Lines car 2855, possibly circa 1942, when CSL looked into putting cars like these back into service, after they had been in storage for a decade. Ultimately, it was decided against doing this, and this class of cars ended its days in work service. Don's Rail Photos: "2855 was built by South Chicago City Ry in 1907 as SCCRy 341. It was rebuilt in 1907 and became C&SCRy 841 in 1908. It was renumbered 2855 in 1913 and became CSL 2855 in 1914. It was later converted as a salt car and renumbered AA106 in 1948. It was retired on October 11, 1951." (Charles Able Photo)

Chicago Surface Lines car 2855, possibly circa 1942, when CSL looked into putting cars like these back into service, after they had been in storage for a decade. Ultimately, it was decided against doing this, and this class of cars ended its days in work service. Don’s Rail Photos: “2855 was built by South Chicago City Ry in 1907 as SCCRy 341. It was rebuilt in 1907 and became C&SCRy 841 in 1908. It was renumbered 2855 in 1913 and became CSL 2855 in 1914. It was later converted as a salt car and renumbered AA106 in 1948. It was retired on October 11, 1951.” (Charles Able Photo)

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 21, circa 1940. It ran in Wildwood, New Jersey. Streetcars were replaced by buses in this seacoast town in 1945.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 21, circa 1940. It ran in Wildwood, New Jersey. Streetcars were replaced by buses in this seacoast town in 1945.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 21, circa 1940.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 21.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 21, circa 1940.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 21, circa 1940.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 35, circa 1940.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 35, circa 1940.

The Atlantic City and Shore (aka the "Shore Fast Line") ran between Atlantic City and Ocean City until 1948. Here, car 109 is in Atlantic City. It was built by the John Stephenson Company in 1906.

The Atlantic City and Shore (aka the “Shore Fast Line”) ran between Atlantic City and Ocean City until 1948. Here, car 109 is in Atlantic City. It was built by the John Stephenson Company in 1906.

LaMar M. Kelly (1897-1947) was an early, and noted, railfan photographer. He took this picture of Chicago Aurora and Elgin electric loco 3004 at the Wheaton Yard on August 6, 1939.

LaMar M. Kelly (1897-1947) was an early, and noted, railfan photographer. He took this picture of Chicago Aurora and Elgin electric loco 3004 at the Wheaton Yard on August 6, 1939.

LaMar Kelley's large 116-sized negative came in this old Kodak envelope. He took the photo in 1939, but the envelope could be even older than that.

LaMar Kelley’s large 116-sized negative came in this old Kodak envelope. He took the photo in 1939, but the envelope could be even older than that.

SEPTA 160, a Strafford car, is on the Norristown High-Speed Line at top, with an electric commuter rail train below. The bridge crossed the Schuylkill River. This photo was taken on September 6, 1978.

SEPTA 160, a Strafford car, is on the Norristown High-Speed Line at top, with an electric commuter rail train below. The bridge crossed the Schuylkill River. This photo was taken on September 6, 1978.

CSL 6285, called either a Peter Witt or a Sedan, is on Route 22 - Clark-Wentworth, possibly in the 1930s. Car 6285 was built by CSL in 1929.

CSL 6285, called either a Peter Witt or a Sedan, is on Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth, possibly in the 1930s. Car 6285 was built by CSL in 1929.

CSL 6208 in Hammond, Indiana in 1940, shortly before service on this line was cut back to the state line. Don's Rail Photos: "6208 (a Multiple Unit car) was built by CSL in 1924. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932."

CSL 6208 in Hammond, Indiana in 1940, shortly before service on this line was cut back to the state line. Don’s Rail Photos: “6208 (a Multiple Unit car) was built by CSL in 1924. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932.”

CSL 2615 (known as a Robertson Rebuild) crosses a bridge on 106th Street on June 21, 1941. We are looking west. Don's Rail Photos: "2615 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1901. It was retired on December 4, 1945." (Robert W. Gibson Photo)

CSL 2615 (known as a Robertson Rebuild) crosses a bridge on 106th Street on June 21, 1941. We are looking west. Don’s Rail Photos: “2615 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1901. It was retired on December 4, 1945.” (Robert W. Gibson Photo)

MBTA (Boston) 3344, an ex-Dallas double-ended PCC is at Milton Lower Mills on the Ashmont-Mattapan line on March 24, 1968.

MBTA (Boston) 3344, an ex-Dallas double-ended PCC is at Milton Lower Mills on the Ashmont-Mattapan line on March 24, 1968.

CTA 4000s and 2200s on the Loop "L" in 1973. looking west from Clark and Lake. The train at left is an Evanston Express, with Lake-Dan Ryan on the right.

CTA 4000s and 2200s on the Loop “L” in 1973. looking west from Clark and Lake. The train at left is an Evanston Express, with Lake-Dan Ryan on the right.

CTA red Pullman 863 is running northbound on Stony Island at 72nd, headed towards Navy Pier. A Kaiser-Frazer dealership is in the distance, and a truck dealer at right.

CTA red Pullman 863 is running northbound on Stony Island at 72nd, headed towards Navy Pier. A Kaiser-Frazer dealership is in the distance, and a truck dealer at right.

On May 16, 1954, CTA red Pullman 579 is at the Western and 79th turnaround loop on a CERA fantrip. During this period, streetcars were used on Western during weekdays only, so the fantrip cars did not impede regular traffic. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On May 16, 1954, CTA red Pullman 579 is at the Western and 79th turnaround loop on a CERA fantrip. During this period, streetcars were used on Western during weekdays only, so the fantrip cars did not impede regular traffic. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

North Shore Line car 748 at Lake Bluff, IL on October 19, 1963, several months after abandonment of the line.

North Shore Line car 748 at Lake Bluff, IL on October 19, 1963, several months after abandonment of the line.

No information came with this one, which shows North Shore Line car 732 at, I presume, Highwood in perhaps the 1930s or 40s.

No information came with this one, which shows North Shore Line car 732 at, I presume, Highwood in perhaps the 1930s or 40s.

I recently won this auction for "an unsent Real Photo Postcard. It is titled Heyworth Grading Gang #5 Aug. '06. / C.M.E.R.R. (Horlicsville) (sic) Marshall Photo. CYKO Stamp Box on the reverse. Horlicksville was a place that takes its name from the Horlick family, which had the Horlick malted milk plant in the community. This town was located about two miles north of Racine Wisconsin and this photo would have been taken about the time they were building the Chicago Milwaukee Electric Railroad Line between Racine and Milwaukee."

I recently won this auction for “an unsent Real Photo Postcard. It is titled Heyworth Grading Gang #5 Aug. ’06. / C.M.E.R.R. (Horlicsville) (sic) Marshall Photo. CYKO Stamp Box on the reverse. Horlicksville was a place that takes its name from the Horlick family, which had the Horlick malted milk plant in the community. This town was located about two miles north of Racine Wisconsin and this photo would have been taken about the time they were building the Chicago Milwaukee Electric Railroad Line between Racine and Milwaukee.”

Chicago’s Lost “L”s Online Presentation

We recently gave an online presentation about our book Chicago’s Lost “L”s for the Chicago Public Library, as part of their One Book, One Chicago series. You can watch it online by following this link.

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We appeared on the Dave Plier Show on WGN radio on July 16, 2021, 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:

For Shipping to Canada:

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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Under Our Tree

Here are some Christmas colors for you. On January 23, 1954, CTA 1782 passes 1774 at the west end of the Lake Street line near Austin Boulevard. Since 1782 has already been repainted green, it most likely could not have been the car in the 1780 series that was oddly renumbered as "78" on the Madison-Fifth shuttle a short time later (see a picture on our previous post Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White (January 23, 2015). The Park Theater, by then already shuttered, was behind the two streetcars.

Here are some Christmas colors for you. On January 23, 1954, CTA 1782 passes 1774 at the west end of the Lake Street line near Austin Boulevard. Since 1782 has already been repainted green, it most likely could not have been the car in the 1780 series that was oddly renumbered as “78” on the Madison-Fifth shuttle a short time later (see a picture on our previous post Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White (January 23, 2015). The Park Theater, by then already shuttered, was behind the two streetcars.

I'm having difficulty identifying this car. But note it has a "continental" spare tire, implying it is not one of the cheaper models. The newest it could be is a 1954. The 1955 models wouldn't have been on the market until some months after streetcars quit on Lake Street. So far, my best guess is this may be a 1953 Dodge Coronet. Gary Kleinedler: I believe that the CTA 1782 & 1774 photo shows a 1953 Dodge Coronet Diplomat 2-door hardtop. All 1952 Dodge models had separate, bolted-on rear fenders; the photo shows a straight fender sideline. The 1953 Coronet series was the top trim line (Meadowbrook--Coronet; Wayfarer models were discontinued after 1952), and a Coronet 2-door hardtop would have a three-piece wraparound rear window and V-8 Hemi engine. The 1954 Dodge Coronet (and new top-line Royal) models had the model name in script on the rear fenders, which doesn't seem to be present in the photo. A Continental spare wheel kit and wire wheels (which appear to be present) were both offered as factory options in 1953. I took the above info from the Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946-1974, John Gunnel, ed.

I’m having difficulty identifying this car. But note it has a “continental” spare tire, implying it is not one of the cheaper models. The newest it could be is a 1954. The 1955 models wouldn’t have been on the market until some months after streetcars quit on Lake Street. So far, my best guess is this may be a 1953 Dodge Coronet.
Gary Kleinedler:

I believe that the CTA 1782 & 1774 photo shows a 1953 Dodge Coronet Diplomat 2-door hardtop. All 1952 Dodge models had separate, bolted-on rear fenders; the photo shows a straight fender sideline. The 1953 Coronet series was the top trim line (Meadowbrook–Coronet; Wayfarer models were discontinued after 1952), and a Coronet 2-door hardtop would have a three-piece wraparound rear window and V-8 Hemi engine. The 1954 Dodge Coronet (and new top-line Royal) models had the model name in script on the rear fenders, which doesn’t seem to be present in the photo. A Continental spare wheel kit and wire wheels (which appear to be present) were both offered as factory options in 1953. I took the above info from the Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946-1974, John Gunnel, ed.

A 1953 Dodge Coronet.

A 1953 Dodge Coronet.

dodge-coronet-1953-7


There are lots of great photos under the Trolley Dodger tree this year. Besides the color shots, we have many rare, classic black-and-whites, which came out of one railfan’s scrapbook and were taken in the early-to-mid 1930s. Many of these were taken by one Earl W. McLaughlin of Chicago. There was a man by the same name who worked for the CTA in 1958 (and did some reporting for the Transit News, their employee publication), but I am not yet sure if they are one and the same.

Some railfans like to ride, and others prefer to take pictures. Edward Frank, Jr., whose work we have featured on many occasions, was in the latter category– he rode his bicycle everywhere instead of taking the streetcar, in order to save up money for film. Given the number of shots Mr. McLaughlin took at ends of various lines, I’d say he liked to ride as well as photograph.

As always, if you have any interesting tidbits of information to add to the discussion, after seeing these pictures, don’t hesitate to drop us a line at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Happy Holidays!

-David Sadowski

PS- So far, I have determined that Earl W. McLaughlin was born in 1915 and died in 1969. For much of his life, he lived on the north side of Chicago, and died in Des Plaines. In 1940, his profession was grading furs.

Illinois Central Electric car 1210 heads up a Randolph St. Express on September 9, 1959. Don's Rail Photos adds, "1100 thru 1239 were built by Pullman in 1929. 1198 went to Illinois Railway Museum in 1972." (Clark Frazier Photo) Andre Kristopans: "IC 1210 – arriving at 91st/South Chicago. Tracks on right were B&O. Note trailers were always at the NORTH end of an IC Electric train, as only a trailer would fit under the old South Water St entrance to Randolph St Station, so in order to use the full track length, trailers always had to lead north." Daniel Gornstein adds, "I'm not sure if anyone else has replied on the IC 91st St. photo yet, but the unquestionable answer is on the catenary pole. If you look closely on the macro view you will see, arranged vertically, this: "SC4-33," meaning South Chicago Subdistrict, located at MP 4.33. The 2 branches used to have independent MP's, but are now shown on Engineering Dept. files as the same distance to South Water St., as the Univ. Pk. mainline does. To the photographer's rear is 91st St. and in the distance, just north of 90th St., is NB signal 420, or approx. MP 4.2. IRM's operable "Suburban Unit" is motor 1198, as noted, and trailer 1380."

Illinois Central Electric car 1210 heads up a Randolph St. Express on September 9, 1959. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “1100 thru 1239 were built by Pullman in 1929. 1198 went to Illinois Railway Museum in 1972.” (Clark Frazier Photo) Andre Kristopans: “IC 1210 – arriving at 91st/South Chicago. Tracks on right were B&O. Note trailers were always at the NORTH end of an IC Electric train, as only a trailer would fit under the old South Water St entrance to Randolph St Station, so in order to use the full track length, trailers always had to lead north.” Daniel Gornstein adds, “I’m not sure if anyone else has replied on the IC 91st St. photo yet, but the unquestionable answer is on the catenary pole. If you look closely on the macro view you will see, arranged vertically, this: “SC4-33,” meaning South Chicago Subdistrict, located at MP 4.33. The 2 branches used to have independent MP’s, but are now shown on Engineering Dept. files as the same distance to South Water St., as the Univ. Pk. mainline does. To the photographer’s rear is 91st St. and in the distance, just north of 90th St., is NB signal 420, or approx. MP 4.2. IRM’s operable “Suburban Unit” is motor 1198, as noted, and trailer 1380.”

This picture, showing a Skokie Swift single car unit at the Dempster terminal, was taken on August 11, 1964. We see an interesting variety of 1960s cars in the parking lot, including a first-generation Corvair. The slide says this is car #30, but under magnification, the number looks more like 39. However, as far as I know, car 39 was then being used in Evanston service with trolley poles. So perhaps 30 is correct. That car is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Douglas N. Brotjahn Photo)

This picture, showing a Skokie Swift single car unit at the Dempster terminal, was taken on August 11, 1964. We see an interesting variety of 1960s cars in the parking lot, including a first-generation Corvair. The slide says this is car #30, but under magnification, the number looks more like 39. However, as far as I know, car 39 was then being used in Evanston service with trolley poles. So perhaps 30 is correct. That car is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Douglas N. Brotjahn Photo)

Here, we see MBTA (Boston) double-end PCC 3346 at the Ashmont end of the Ashmont-Mattapan line in November 1977. This picture has special significance to me, as I rode these cars for the first and only time just three months earlier. They were nearing the end of their service lives, however, and by the time I revisited, had been replaced by single-ended PCCs. Over time, the terminals at both ends of this feeder line have been changed, and I don't believe the cars run here any longer. I recall there was a sign somewhere in the vicinity, probably from the 1920s, calling this the "High Speed Trolley." I hope someone managed to save that sign.

Here, we see MBTA (Boston) double-end PCC 3346 at the Ashmont end of the Ashmont-Mattapan line in November 1977. This picture has special significance to me, as I rode these cars for the first and only time just three months earlier. They were nearing the end of their service lives, however, and by the time I revisited, had been replaced by single-ended PCCs. Over time, the terminals at both ends of this feeder line have been changed, and I don’t believe the cars run here any longer. I recall there was a sign somewhere in the vicinity, probably from the 1920s, calling this the “High Speed Trolley.” I hope someone managed to save that sign.

I have wondered for some time where this picture of CTA 4389 was taken. I had a gut feeling it was somewhere on the south side. Turns out, this is Wentworth and 59th. There is a picture taken at this location on page 217 of CERA B-146. All the buildings on the left are gone now, as this is where the Dan Ryan expressway now runs. As for the date, that truck appears to have a 1955 Illinois license plate. M. E. writes: "When compared with the photo on p. 217 of B-146, this is indeed 59th and Wentworth. What confuses me is the trackage turning from westbound 59th onto southbound Wentworth. Lind says the 59th St. streetcar line converted to bus in 1948. So my guess is that the CTA wanted to keep trackage open on 59th between Wentworth and State St., and the CTA built the turning trackage at Wentworth after 59th went to bus."

I have wondered for some time where this picture of CTA 4389 was taken. I had a gut feeling it was somewhere on the south side. Turns out, this is Wentworth and 59th. There is a picture taken at this location on page 217 of CERA B-146. All the buildings on the left are gone now, as this is where the Dan Ryan expressway now runs. As for the date, that truck appears to have a 1955 Illinois license plate. M. E. writes: “When compared with the photo on p. 217 of B-146, this is indeed 59th and Wentworth. What confuses me is the trackage turning from westbound 59th onto southbound Wentworth. Lind says the 59th St. streetcar line converted to bus in 1948. So my guess is that the CTA wanted to keep trackage open on 59th between Wentworth and State St., and the CTA built the turning trackage at Wentworth after 59th went to bus.”

Here is an enlargement of part of the 1952 CTA Surface System track map. It does show a track connection between Wentworth and State. Possibly some of these connections were kept for bypass use in case of flooded viaducts, such as the one that resulted in the infamous 1950 crash between a PCC car and a gasoline truck. M. E. writes: "The enlarged map you added of the 59th-Wentworth trackage made me think about how the 4 Cottage Grove cars got to the 69th and Ashland barn. Try this: Cottage Grove to 61st, west to State, north to 59th, west to Wentworth, south to 63rd, west to Ashland, south to 69th. You suggested that all this trackage was kept open (at least as late as 1952) to bypass flooded viaducts such as the one on State south of 63rd. This theory would also apply to the viaducts on the 63rd St. line. Much of that line between Wentworth and State consisted of viaducts for four passenger railroads (New York Central + Nickel Plate; Pennsylvania; and Rock Island), as well as Englewood Union Station. In fact, between the station and State St. there was a big yard for New York Central freight, which accounted for the majority of the viaduct over 63rd St. So, if the 63rd St. viaducts were to flood, the 63rd St. cars (let's say heading east) would turn north on Wentworth to 59th, east to State, south to 63rd, then east on 63rd.

Here is an enlargement of part of the 1952 CTA Surface System track map. It does show a track connection between Wentworth and State. Possibly some of these connections were kept for bypass use in case of flooded viaducts, such as the one that resulted in the infamous 1950 crash between a PCC car and a gasoline truck. M. E. writes: “The enlarged map you added of the 59th-Wentworth trackage made me think about how the 4 Cottage Grove cars got to the 69th and Ashland barn. Try this: Cottage Grove to 61st, west to State, north to 59th, west to Wentworth, south to 63rd, west to Ashland, south to 69th. You suggested that all this trackage was kept open (at least as late as 1952) to bypass flooded viaducts such as the one on State south of 63rd. This theory would also apply to the viaducts on the 63rd St. line. Much of that line between Wentworth and State consisted of viaducts for four passenger railroads (New York Central + Nickel Plate; Pennsylvania; and Rock Island), as well as Englewood Union Station. In fact, between the station and State St. there was a big yard for New York Central freight, which accounted for the majority of the viaduct over 63rd St. So, if the 63rd St. viaducts were to flood, the 63rd St. cars (let’s say heading east) would turn north on Wentworth to 59th, east to State, south to 63rd, then east on 63rd.

The same location today.

The same location today.

You might think, at first glance, that this picture of CSL 453 was taken downtown, but you would be wrong. This is the east end of the Lawrence line at Broadway in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood. The motorman and conductor are talking before making the trip west to Austin on August 4, 1934. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

You might think, at first glance, that this picture of CSL 453 was taken downtown, but you would be wrong. This is the east end of the Lawrence line at Broadway in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. The motorman and conductor are talking before making the trip west to Austin on August 4, 1934. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

The same location today.

The same location today.

On a foggy day in December 1932, we see CSL "maximum traction" car 6109 southbound at State and Wacker.

On a foggy day in December 1932, we see CSL “maximum traction” car 6109 southbound at State and Wacker.

This photo of CSL 6170 heading northbound, was taken at State and Wacker, probably also in December 1932.

This photo of CSL 6170 heading northbound, was taken at State and Wacker, probably also in December 1932.

This damaged photo of CSL 581 was taken at the Imlay Loop at the outer end of route 56 - Milwaukee, on August 4, 1935. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

This damaged photo of CSL 581 was taken at the Imlay Loop at the outer end of route 56 – Milwaukee, on August 4, 1935. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

Here, we see CSL 6176 on Broadway at Berwyn (5300 N.). This Broadway-Wabash car is going direct to the World's Fair gates at 18th and 23rd Streets on August 4, 1934. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

Here, we see CSL 6176 on Broadway at Berwyn (5300 N.). This Broadway-Wabash car is going direct to the World’s Fair gates at 18th and 23rd Streets on August 4, 1934. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

The same location today.

The same location today.

This picture of CSL 335 may have been taken on route 65 - Grand. If so, it is heading east.

This picture of CSL 335 may have been taken on route 65 – Grand. If so, it is heading east.

CSL 1333, built in 1908.

CSL 1333, built in 1908.

CSL 5383 is laying over at the north end of the Ashland line, at Southport and Clark, on August 4, 1934. Since the Ashland bridge over the Chicago River was not opened until 1936, this car would have crossed the river via Southport. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

CSL 5383 is laying over at the north end of the Ashland line, at Southport and Clark, on August 4, 1934. Since the Ashland bridge over the Chicago River was not opened until 1936, this car would have crossed the river via Southport. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

CSL 381. Andre Kristopans: "Probably somewhere in Devon Carbarn yard. Lawrence and Broadway/Wabash both ran out of there." George Trapp adds, "I am pretty sure the location is at the Devon Depot, the east end of the South open yard, the ladder track curves out into Schreiber Avenue behind the photographer. Car 381 is signed for Cottage Grove-Broadway TR#1. Car 3201 to it's left is signed for Lawrence which operated out of Devon in the 1930's, it is one of the two original MU cars, 3200-3201 with 4 motors. These cars operated on Broadway during the daytime as two man cars and as night cars on Lawrence as one man. The car barn structure also looks like Devon Depot."

CSL 381. Andre Kristopans: “Probably somewhere in Devon Carbarn yard. Lawrence and Broadway/Wabash both ran out of there.” George Trapp adds, “I am pretty sure the location is at the Devon Depot, the east end of the South open yard, the ladder track curves out into Schreiber Avenue behind the photographer. Car 381 is signed for Cottage Grove-Broadway TR#1. Car 3201 to it’s left is signed for Lawrence which operated out of Devon in the 1930’s, it is one of the two original MU cars, 3200-3201 with 4 motors. These cars operated on Broadway during the daytime as two man cars and as night cars on Lawrence as one man. The car barn structure also looks like Devon Depot.”

Caption: "Chicago Surface Lines #3284. i man car built by Lightweight Noiseless Car Co. in 1925. Taken: Chicago, Ill., 8-4-34. Former two-man (car) also in MU (multiple unit) service. Now equipped with stop light and foot brakes." The car is shown at the east end of the Montrose line, just west of Broadway. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

Caption: “Chicago Surface Lines #3284. i man car built by Lightweight Noiseless Car Co. in 1925. Taken: Chicago, Ill., 8-4-34. Former two-man (car) also in MU (multiple unit) service. Now equipped with stop light and foot brakes.” The car is shown at the east end of the Montrose line, just west of Broadway. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

This photo of CSL Sedan (Peter Witt) 3325, taken August 4, 1935, was a challenge to identify. These cars were being used exclusively on the Clark-Wentworth line then. The sign for the Heinsen Photo Studio (located at 6221 N. Clark) provided the necessary clue to ID this as Clark and Granville. The car is heading south. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

This photo of CSL Sedan (Peter Witt) 3325, taken August 4, 1935, was a challenge to identify. These cars were being used exclusively on the Clark-Wentworth line then. The sign for the Heinsen Photo Studio (located at 6221 N. Clark) provided the necessary clue to ID this as Clark and Granville. The car is heading south. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

Clark and Granville today. The building that once had a photo studio is still there.

Clark and Granville today. The building that once had a photo studio is still there.

CSL 1984, built by the Chicago Railways Company in 1913-1914, is shown at the east end of the North Avenue line on November 24, 1934. That's Clark Street in the rear. When route 72 was changed to trolley bus in 1949, buses continued to a new turnaround loop east of Clark. The building at rear is the old Plaza Hotel. To see it from another angle, check out our post Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 2-28-2016. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

CSL 1984, built by the Chicago Railways Company in 1913-1914, is shown at the east end of the North Avenue line on November 24, 1934. That’s Clark Street in the rear. When route 72 was changed to trolley bus in 1949, buses continued to a new turnaround loop east of Clark. The building at rear is the old Plaza Hotel. To see it from another angle, check out our post Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 2-28-2016. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

North and Clark today.

North and Clark today.

Here is an interesting photo of CSL one-man car 3110, taken on August 4, 1934. The location is Ashland and Irving Park Road, and the large building at rear is Lake View High School, where my mother graduated in 1946. Since this was two years before the north and south portions of Ashland were connected by a new bridge over the Chicago River, this is a North Ashland Shuttle car, running the two miles between Irving Park (4000 N.) and Fullerton (2400 N.). (Actually, the sign says the car is going to Clybourn, which is just south of Fullerton.) We ran another North Ashland Shuttle photo in our post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Eleven (September 2, 2016). (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

Here is an interesting photo of CSL one-man car 3110, taken on August 4, 1934. The location is Ashland and Irving Park Road, and the large building at rear is Lake View High School, where my mother graduated in 1946. Since this was two years before the north and south portions of Ashland were connected by a new bridge over the Chicago River, this is a North Ashland Shuttle car, running the two miles between Irving Park (4000 N.) and Fullerton (2400 N.). (Actually, the sign says the car is going to Clybourn, which is just south of Fullerton.) We ran another North Ashland Shuttle photo in our post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Eleven (September 2, 2016). (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

Ashland and Irving Park today.

Ashland and Irving Park today.

It's not easy to determine just where this picture of CSL 1589 was taken on August 4, 1934. The car is signed for Irving Park and Neenah, and with the track configuration, you would expect we are at the east end of the Irving Park line. However, according to my CSL track maps, the crossover was just west of Broadway. If so, that doesn't explain the traffic signal in the picture. Perhaps Irving Park cars turned back just east of Broadway? (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo) Andre Kristopans: "More likely Irving and Clark. Note cemetery behind car."

It’s not easy to determine just where this picture of CSL 1589 was taken on August 4, 1934. The car is signed for Irving Park and Neenah, and with the track configuration, you would expect we are at the east end of the Irving Park line. However, according to my CSL track maps, the crossover was just west of Broadway. If so, that doesn’t explain the traffic signal in the picture. Perhaps Irving Park cars turned back just east of Broadway? (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo) Andre Kristopans: “More likely Irving and Clark. Note cemetery behind car.”

Irving Park and Broadway today.

Irving Park and Broadway today.

CSL 6042 on the State route on November 24, 1934. The Broadway-State through-route did not start until August 19, 1937, so this is likely to be somewhere on the south side. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo) Andre Kristopans: "I’d bet at the north end of the line, on Division east of Wells. Note car is switching back."

CSL 6042 on the State route on November 24, 1934. The Broadway-State through-route did not start until August 19, 1937, so this is likely to be somewhere on the south side. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo) Andre Kristopans: “I’d bet at the north end of the line, on Division east of Wells. Note car is switching back.”

Chicago and West Towns car 156 on 22nd Street (or was it already called Cermak road) in Cicero, 1936. The car is heading west and we can just see a glimpse of the Douglas Park "L", which runs just north of Cermak. The car is signed to go to Riverside. Don's Rail Photos: "156 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1927. It was rebuilt in 1942 and scrapped in 1948."

Chicago and West Towns car 156 on 22nd Street (or was it already called Cermak road) in Cicero, 1936. The car is heading west and we can just see a glimpse of the Douglas Park “L”, which runs just north of Cermak. The car is signed to go to Riverside. Don’s Rail Photos: “156 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1927. It was rebuilt in 1942 and scrapped in 1948.”

Don's Rail Photos says Chicago & West Towns car 106 "was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1915. It was dismantled in 1943." Here, we see it heading north on Harlem and Stanley in 1936, having just crossed the Burlington RR.

Don’s Rail Photos says Chicago & West Towns car 106 “was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1915. It was dismantled in 1943.” Here, we see it heading north on Harlem and Stanley in 1936, having just crossed the Burlington RR.

C&WT 101 at the same location in 1936. Note the Harlem stop on the Burlington commuter line at right. Don's Rail Photos adds, "101 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1917. It was scrapped in 1948."

C&WT 101 at the same location in 1936. Note the Harlem stop on the Burlington commuter line at right. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “101 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1917. It was scrapped in 1948.”

Harlem and Stanley in Berwyn today. The Harlem stop on the Burlington has been updated, but is still in the same location as the 1936 picture.

Harlem and Stanley in Berwyn today. The Harlem stop on the Burlington has been updated, but is still in the same location as the 1936 picture.

This is not a very good picture, technically (it appears to be a double exposure) but it does show the North Shore Line in Milwaukee in 1934.

This is not a very good picture, technically (it appears to be a double exposure) but it does show the North Shore Line in Milwaukee in 1934.

South Shore Line cars 33, 24 and ? near Chicago's Art Institute on August 17, 1931.

South Shore Line cars 33, 24 and ? near Chicago’s Art Institute on August 17, 1931.

Caption: "Chicago, South Shore and South Bend trailer 207. Although this car has no motors, it has controls, and can be used as (the) head car in (a) train. These trains make the 90 miles to South Bend in 2 hours and go over 100 to keep up schedule, and they go through city streets in several cities, among them Gary. They use tracks of the Illinois Central out and in Chicago. Builder- Pullman."

Caption: “Chicago, South Shore and South Bend trailer 207. Although this car has no motors, it has controls, and can be used as (the) head car in (a) train. These trains make the 90 miles to South Bend in 2 hours and go over 100 to keep up schedule, and they go through city streets in several cities, among them Gary. They use tracks of the Illinois Central out and in Chicago. Builder- Pullman.”

Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee dining car 417 at Highwood. Don's Rail Photos: "417 were built by Cincinnati Car in June 1924, #2905 as dining car trailer. It was rebuilt as a tavern-lounge on November 8, 1940. It was out service by 1951, retired on December 31, 1955, and scrapped in 1959."

Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee dining car 417 at Highwood. Don’s Rail Photos: “417 were built by Cincinnati Car in June 1924, #2905 as dining car trailer. It was rebuilt as a tavern-lounge on November 8, 1940. It was out service by 1951, retired on December 31, 1955, and scrapped in 1959.”

This picture of CSS&SB 109 has been restored. The original was not properly fixed in development, and the print has continued to develop over the last 80 years. Eventually, it will fade out completely. Don's Rail Photos adds, "109 was built by Pullman in 1926. It was lengthened in 1944. Air conditioning and picture windows came in 1949." (James B. M. Johnson Photo)

This picture of CSS&SB 109 has been restored. The original was not properly fixed in development, and the print has continued to develop over the last 80 years. Eventually, it will fade out completely. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “109 was built by Pullman in 1926. It was lengthened in 1944. Air conditioning and picture windows came in 1949.” (James B. M. Johnson Photo)

This is another photo that was not properly fixed in development. Don's Rail Photos: "1126 was a work motor built by Niles in 1908 as CLS&SB 73. In 1927 it was rebuilt into work motor 1126. In 1941 it was sold and converted to a house. In 1994 it was purchased for restoration from a buyer who had picked it up the month before for back taxes. He really did not want the car, just the land. Bob Harris began restoration in 2005 and plans to complete it in 2009." (James B. M. Johnson Photo)

This is another photo that was not properly fixed in development. Don’s Rail Photos: “1126 was a work motor built by Niles in 1908 as CLS&SB 73. In 1927 it was rebuilt into work motor 1126. In 1941 it was sold and converted to a house. In 1994 it was purchased for restoration from a buyer who had picked it up the month before for back taxes. He really did not want the car, just the land. Bob Harris began restoration in 2005 and plans to complete it in 2009.” (James B. M. Johnson Photo)

South Shore Line car 37. Don's Rail Photos: "37 was built by Standard Car in 1929,, #P-3380. It was air conditioned and sold to IRM in 1983."

South Shore Line car 37. Don’s Rail Photos: “37 was built by Standard Car in 1929,, #P-3380. It was air conditioned and sold to IRM in 1983.”

Here is a rare picture. Don's Rail Photos notes, "222 was built by Kuhlman in 1908 for the CLS&SB and was numbered between 101 and 110. It was rebuilt in 1927 to a deluxe coach and numbered 222. Shortly afterwards, when the 200s arrived, it was used by the Way & Structures Dept. Later it was used as a newspaper car, and it was scrapped in 1941." It is identified in this picture as a maintenance of way car.

Here is a rare picture. Don’s Rail Photos notes, “222 was built by Kuhlman in 1908 for the CLS&SB and was numbered between 101 and 110. It was rebuilt in 1927 to a deluxe coach and numbered 222. Shortly afterwards, when the 200s arrived, it was used by the Way & Structures Dept. Later it was used as a newspaper car, and it was scrapped in 1941.” It is identified in this picture as a maintenance of way car.

Here is another rare photo of CSS&SB wooden combine car 1126.

Here is another rare photo of CSS&SB wooden combine car 1126.

Illinois Terminal car 121, as it appeared at Granite City on June 7, 1936. It was then being used in local service on the route between St. Louis and Alton. Don's Rail Photos adds, "121 was built by East St Louis & Suburban in 1924 as 5. It became StL&ARy 5 in 1930 and IT 121 in January 1931. It was sold for scrap to Hyman Michaels Co on July 23, 1953." (Glenn Niceley Photo)

Illinois Terminal car 121, as it appeared at Granite City on June 7, 1936. It was then being used in local service on the route between St. Louis and Alton. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “121 was built by East St Louis & Suburban in 1924 as 5. It became StL&ARy 5 in 1930 and IT 121 in January 1931. It was sold for scrap to Hyman Michaels Co on July 23, 1953.” (Glenn Niceley Photo)

Illinois Terminal car 273 in Bloomington in March 1936. (Robert M. Hanft Photo)

Illinois Terminal car 273 in Bloomington in March 1936. (Robert M. Hanft Photo)

Another rare photo. This is Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric "Birney" city car #72 in May 1934. Caption: "Color: Orange. 2 Motors. This system, which operated local cars in Aurora and Elgin, as well as an interurban line between those two cities, abandoned April 1, 1935." Actually, a small portion of the AE&FRE did survive in South Elgin as a freight line, which has now morphed into the Fox River trolley Museum. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

Another rare photo. This is Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric “Birney” city car #72 in May 1934. Caption: “Color: Orange. 2 Motors. This system, which operated local cars in Aurora and Elgin, as well as an interurban line between those two cities, abandoned April 1, 1935.” Actually, a small portion of the AE&FRE did survive in South Elgin as a freight line, which has now morphed into the Fox River trolley Museum. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

Again, a rare picture. This is AE&FRE car #206 in Aurora in May 1934. Color: Brown. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

Again, a rare picture. This is AE&FRE car #206 in Aurora in May 1934. Color: Brown. (Earl W. McLaughlin Photo)

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin car 107 under trolley wire in downtown Aurora in 1936. Within a short period of time, the street running in Aurora was eliminated and replaced by a new terminal with private right-of-way. Don's Rail Photos: "107 was built by Stephenson in 1903. It was wrecked in 1914 and rebuilt as an express trailer. It was retired in 1937." I'm not sure if this is really car 107 (as the photo says it is), since this car looks like it can run under its own power, which an express trailer could not do. Andre Kristopans: "CAE car in Aurora – probably 407. 107 was a woodie to begin with!" Don's Rail Photos says, "407 was built by Pullman in 1923." Bill Shapotkin adds, "This pic is indeed in Broadway at the CB&Q overcrossing (just south of Benson). When the streetcars quit in Aurora, the car tracks (which had at one time gone under the CB&Q) were cut-back to this point. The view looks N/E."

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin car 107 under trolley wire in downtown Aurora in 1936. Within a short period of time, the street running in Aurora was eliminated and replaced by a new terminal with private right-of-way. Don’s Rail Photos: “107 was built by Stephenson in 1903. It was wrecked in 1914 and rebuilt as an express trailer. It was retired in 1937.” I’m not sure if this is really car 107 (as the photo says it is), since this car looks like it can run under its own power, which an express trailer could not do. Andre Kristopans: “CAE car in Aurora – probably 407. 107 was a woodie to begin with!” Don’s Rail Photos says, “407 was built by Pullman in 1923.” Bill Shapotkin adds, “This pic is indeed in Broadway at the CB&Q overcrossing (just south of Benson). When the streetcars quit in Aurora, the car tracks (which had at one time gone under the CB&Q) were cut-back to this point. The view looks N/E.”

Caption: "Chicago, Aurora & Elgin trailer 209. This car has controls (like CSS&SB 207) but no motors. Built by Niles." Don's Rail Photos: ""Carolyn" was built by Niles Car in 1904. It was rebuilt as 209, a trailer coach, in 1924 and rebuilt in May 1939. It was retired in 1959."

Caption: “Chicago, Aurora & Elgin trailer 209. This car has controls (like CSS&SB 207) but no motors. Built by Niles.” Don’s Rail Photos: “”Carolyn” was built by Niles Car in 1904. It was rebuilt as 209, a trailer coach, in 1924 and rebuilt in May 1939. It was retired in 1959.”

Caption: "Chicago, Aurora & Elgin 433, geared for 95 miles an hour." 433 was built by Cincinnati Car Co. in 1927. There is some debate as to just how fast CA&E cars ran. The general consensus is they could do at least 60 mph but that close proximity to nearby buildings might have inflated the "illusion of speed" relative to, say, the North Shore Line, which was in more open areas.

Caption: “Chicago, Aurora & Elgin 433, geared for 95 miles an hour.” 433 was built by Cincinnati Car Co. in 1927. There is some debate as to just how fast CA&E cars ran. The general consensus is they could do at least 60 mph but that close proximity to nearby buildings might have inflated the “illusion of speed” relative to, say, the North Shore Line, which was in more open areas.

Don's Rail Photos says CA&E car 20 "was built by Niles Car in 1902. It was preserved by Railway Electric Leasing & Investing Corp in 1962. It was then transferred to Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It is the oldest operating interurban in the United States."

Don’s Rail Photos says CA&E car 20 “was built by Niles Car in 1902. It was preserved by Railway Electric Leasing & Investing Corp in 1962. It was then transferred to Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It is the oldest operating interurban in the United States.”


Recent Correspondence

csl-5990-at-carbarn

John Smatlak writes:

I picked up this interesting shot of CSL 5990 at a swap meet. I was intrigued by the transfer table pit and the apartment buildings alongside; it’s obviously at one of the carbarns / shops, any idea of which one?

Before I could post this, John solved his own riddle:

Mystery solved, the photo was taken at West Shops.

That’s incredible detective work… how did you figure it out?

Just looking at the B&W photo one day and got the idea that I’d seen the location in another one of my photos, and upon checking, sure enough that was it.

Always enjoy the Trolley Dodger site, keep up the good work!

Thanks!

cta-west-shops-yesterday-and-7-88


Book Review

The book's cover shows the Hagerstown & Frederick, a Maryland interurban. Ironically, considering the title, it had very few riders.

The book’s cover shows the Hagerstown & Frederick, a Maryland interurban. Ironically, considering the title, it had very few riders.

Electric Interurbans and the American People
By H. Roger Grant, with an introduction by Norman Carlson
Published by Indiana University Press

Here his how the publisher describes this book:

One of the most intriguing yet neglected pieces of American transportation history, electric interurban railroads were designed to assist shoppers, salesmen, farmers, commuters, and pleasure-seekers alike with short distance travel. At a time when most roads were unpaved and horse and buggy travel were costly and difficult, these streetcar-like electric cars were essential to economic growth. But why did interurban fever strike so suddenly and extensively in the Midwest and other areas? Why did thousands of people withdraw their savings to get onto what they believed to be a “gravy train?” How did officials of competing steam railroads respond to these challenges to their operations? H. Roger Grant explores the rise and fall of this fleeting form of transportation that started in the early 1900s and was defunct just 30 years later. Perfect for railfans, Electric Interurbans and the American People is a comprehensive contribution for those who love the flanged wheel.

At its core, the word “interurban” means between cities. The definition of an interurban railway has always been a bit difficult to pin down. Some say it should not include suburbs, or lines that were shorter than 15 miles, or that originated with steam railroads.

No matter what definition you might accept, however, you are likely to find exceptions to all of these rules that still seem “interurban-ish” in character. The Philadelphia & Western is not quite 15 miles long, and yet it was always considered an interurban. The Erie Lackawanna’s Gladstone Branch began life as a steam railroad, yet has always seemed like an interurban at heart.

George Hilton and John Due, in their book The Electric Interurban Railways in America, first published in 1964, declared the interurban era at an end with the demise of the Pacific Electric and North Shore Line. Yet while there are remnants of that era all over this country, they are no longer considered “interurbans.”

Everyone agrees that the Chicago, South Shore & South Bend (now operated by NICTD) is the last surviving major interurban in America. But I would bet that 90% or more of its riders think of it as a commuter rail line today.

Likewise, there is the Blue Line, which runs 22 miles between Los Angeles and Long Beach, much of it in the exact same right-of-way that a Pacific Electric interurban line used until 1961. But the Blue Line is not considered an interurban– it is “light rail.”

There are other latter-day interurbans, such as BART, which runs between San Francisco, Oakland, and other places. In any other era, the PATCO Speedline, which runs between Philadelphia and New Jersey, would likewise be called an interurban and not “rapid transit.”

With all this in mind, I welcome the publication of Electric Interurbans and the American People by H. Roger Grant, simply because its focus is largely on people, and people have often been left out of many such previous books on this subject.* Investing in an interurban railway was always a very risky and speculative venture. But for a time in the early 1900s, thousands of miles of such lines were built.

While Hilton and Due considered the interurban era to have been practically an accident of history, noting that had autos and paved roads been available just a few short years earlier, it might not have happened at all, its effects on America were beneficial and long-lasting. While interurban stockholders may have been caught short in the long run, the connections that these railroads made between cities and communities have been permanent and long-lasting.

With the development of new rail lines, whether called rapid transit, light rail, or high-speed rail, interurbans have made a bit of a comeback in the US, and this seems likely to continue into the future.

The best parts of this book are the ones that deal with various interurban abandonments. I am particularly fond of how the late Maurice Klebolt organized the last passenger trip on the Illinois Terminal interurbans in 1956. Entire towns along the way turned out to pay tribute, many dressed in period costume. We ran a picture of Mr. Klebolt in a recent post.

At just 192 pages, this book, while a welcome addition, just scratches the surface in examining the sociological dimensions of the interurban era. I highly recommend this book to anyone with such an interest. We can only hope that this rich historical vein will continue to be mined by other authors in the future.

-David Sadowski

*I can think of many books where the author seemed to think that people just get in the way of a good photo of an empty railcar.


Marx Trains

Louis Marx and Company was a major toymaker when I was growing up, but they went out of business in 1980. They made a number of metal train sets, and during the 1990s, another firm (Marx Trains) made some interesting O-scale tribute vehicles that I’ve just recently learned about.

These trains aren’t easy to find now, and they don’t come cheap– expect to pay somewhere in the range of $500-750 a set.

This is one car from a three-car CTA "4500s" powered train set that will actually operate on a layout and has sound effects and lights. This was obviously patterned after the 6000s but with only one set of "blinker" doors.

This is one car from a three-car CTA “4500s” powered train set that will actually operate on a layout and has sound effects and lights. This was obviously patterned after the 6000s but with only one set of “blinker” doors.

marxtrainirt4

marxtrainirt6

marxtrainirt9

marxtrainirt2


New Book Project

We are now working on a new paperback book Chicago Trolleys, that we expect will be published in 2017. Original research does cost money, so please consider making a donation to cover our costs. We will keep you updated as we progress, and thank you in advance for your help.


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