Our 150th Post

NSL 420 heading south at Dempster, current end of the line for the CTA Yellow Line (aka the "Skokie Swift"), which revived a small portion of the old interurban a year after service ended in January 1963.

NSL 420 heading south at Dempster, current end of the line for the CTA Yellow Line (aka the “Skokie Swift”), which revived a small portion of the old interurban a year after service ended in January 1963.

The Trolley Dodger blog has reached another milestone with this, our 150th post since we started on January 21, 2015. As time goes on, it becomes both easier and harder to come up with new ideas. On the one hand, we have to work harder to avoid repeating ourselves, since we have already posted thousands of images to date.

On the other hand, there always seems to be more material out there to be had. So in that sense, it seems unlikely that we will ever run out of new material. However, it’s always good to remind our faithful readers that all this historical research costs real money. It costs nothing to read our blog, of course, but the quality and frequency of future posts is entirely dependent on the financial support we get from you.

We are committed to maintaining a very high quality standard in what we put out, and our goal is not only to share information, but to create something of lasting value. We will let others be the judge of whether or not we have succeeded to date, but it’s interesting to note that I often find my own posts coming up to the top of Google searches, when I am researching things.

What makes a good blog post? Well, as I have said before, in general my idea is to use pictures to tell a story. But beyond that, it becomes more difficult to put your finger on what works and what doesn’t.

I would liken it to being a chef in a restaurant who takes whatever fresh ingredients are on hand, and tries to whip them up into a tasty dish. Since our first post featured the North Shore Line, we have a generous helping of classic CNS&M images on today’s menu.

In addition, we have a sprinkling of Chicago, Aurora & Elgin photos, plus some other Chicago/Illinois material, since that is where we are from. Hopefully, all this adds up to a complete “meal,” a feast for the eyes that is also designed to make you think.

But we have not forgotten “dessert.” Our last post (More Mystery Photos, July 29, 2016) included a picture of what appeared to be a Birney car that was not, according to Frank Hicks, an actual Birney. (If anyone is interested in learning what attributes of a streetcar make it into a “true” Birney, look no further than Dr. Harold E. Cox’s book on just that subject. What constitutes a PCC car is also somewhat debatable, another area where the esteemed Dr. Cox has weighed in with an expert opinion.)

While Birney cars, due to their small size, were unsuccessful in larger cities like Chicago, there can be no doubt they were a great success in Fort Collins, Colorado, the “Birney-est” place of all. The Fort Collins Municipal Railway purchased nine such cars for use between 1919 and 1951, a couple for parts. Of these, there’s been a pretty good survival rate, with fully five cars (#s 20, 21, 22, second 25, and 26) still extant.

These cars were so beloved in the area that they never completely left, and efforts to restore a car and revive at least a small portion of service began as early as the 1970s. Service on a mile-and-a-half line began in 1984 and continue to this day, meaning that the resurrected Birney car service in Fort Collins has lasted 32 years now, the same length of time that the original service ran.

Don Ross (in Don’s Rail Photos) writes:

The last regular operation of Birney cars in the U. S. was in Fort Collins, CO. The line was originally built by the Denver & Interurban Ry in 1907. In July 1918, the D&I stopped operating the local lines. A bus system was tried, but was very unpopular. In January 1919, the voters, by an 8 to 1 majority, decided to take over the system. Four Birneys were purchased from American Car of St. Louis and began operation in May. Over the years additional cars were added and replaced. Finally, in 1951, the system was abandoned on June 30th. The city had grown beyond the car lines, and riders had gone to the automobile. Car 21 was preserved locally. Other cars were saved at other locations. A local group began to restore 21 in 1977, and operation began on Mountain Avenue on December 29, 1984. Over the next two years, 1.5 miles of track was restored for operation. For a complete story about this system, check out their web site.

But wait, there’s more! There was also a double-truck version of the Birney, so we have posted a couple pictures of Johnstown 311, a much-loved car by the fans who took it on many trips back in the day. It ran in service in Pennsylvania until 1960 and has been preserved at the Rockhill Trolley Museum.

We are featuring color photos today, and will have several new black-and-white images to share in the near future. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Bon Appétit!

-David Sadowski

PS- If you can help identify any of missing locations, or have other interesting thoughts on these pictures, don’t hesitate to drop us a line, either as a Comment here, or via:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com


Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee (aka North Shore Line)

NSL 706 heads south from Dempster in this June 9, 1961 photo by Clark Frazier. This is the current terminal of the CTA Yellow Line. The area under the electrical tower at left is where the "pocket" track went, when this was the end-of-the-line for the CRT's Niles Center Branch. This local service ended in 1948. CTA "L" service resumed here in 1964.

NSL 706 heads south from Dempster in this June 9, 1961 photo by Clark Frazier. This is the current terminal of the CTA Yellow Line. The area under the electrical tower at left is where the “pocket” track went, when this was the end-of-the-line for the CRT’s Niles Center Branch. This local service ended in 1948. CTA “L” service resumed here in 1964.

A solitary North Shore Line car crosses the Chicago River at Wacker Drive on the "L".

A solitary North Shore Line car crosses the Chicago River at Wacker Drive on the “L”.

NSL 739 and train at Lake Bluff.

NSL 739 and train at Lake Bluff.

NSL 737 at the Loyola curve on the CTA.

NSL 737 at the Loyola curve on the CTA.

NSL 713 heads up a five-car train at Sedgwick in October 1958.

NSL 713 heads up a five-car train at Sedgwick in October 1958.

NSL 737 and head "at speed" near Sheridan Elms in Lake Forest.

NSL 737 and head “at speed” near Sheridan Elms in Lake Forest.

NSL 735 et al at North Chicago.

NSL 735 et al at North Chicago.

"Silverliner" 756 and train in Skokie.

“Silverliner” 756 and train in Skokie.

A southbound Electroliner at Edison Court.

A southbound Electroliner at Edison Court.

NSL 182 and train at St. Mary's Road (Thornbury Village) on the Mundelein branch on May 31, 1962. Notice the difference in right-of-way construction here, versus the main line.

NSL 182 and train at St. Mary’s Road (Thornbury Village) on the Mundelein branch on May 31, 1962. Notice the difference in right-of-way construction here, versus the main line.

NSL 743 and train at Green Bay Junction. Jerry Wiatrowski: "NSL 743 and train are on the Skokie Valley route westbound crossing the Mundelein branch at Lake Bluff. The Green Bay Road overpass can be seen in the background." Joey Morrow: "NSL 743 is at Green Bay junction, the catenary poles are still there today. It parallels IL-176 (Rockland Ave)."

NSL 743 and train at Green Bay Junction. Jerry Wiatrowski: “NSL 743 and train are on the Skokie Valley route westbound crossing the Mundelein branch at Lake Bluff. The Green Bay Road overpass can be seen in the background.” Joey Morrow: “NSL 743 is at Green Bay junction, the catenary poles are still there today. It parallels IL-176 (Rockland Ave).”

NSL "Greenliner" 751 and a Silverliner at Lake Bluff in June 1962.

NSL “Greenliner” 751 and a Silverliner at Lake Bluff in June 1962.

A photo run-by on a February 21, 1960 North Shore Line fantrip.

A photo run-by on a February 21, 1960 North Shore Line fantrip.

I don't know just when this picture of a North Shore Line "special" train was taken, but Gustafson Motors was located in Libertyville, along the Mundelein branch. FYI, we have several North Shore Line audio recordings available on compact disc in our Online Store, including some from the Mundelein branch. Garrett Patterson: "nsl003 would have been taken just weeks before the end of service system-wide. The 1962 Bel Air in the lot dates the photo." One of our regular readers adds: "This was the CERA fantrip that was operated in April 1962. George Krambles operated the train in Evanston, and there are movies and slides of the train going south from Isabella going up the hill to the North Shore Channel bridge. The scene is seen in The Tribute to the North Shore Line video, which has been presented at January CERA meetings (although it is not commercially available). Of course the above photo is at Libertyville (which was a beautiful place in the country at one time)."

I don’t know just when this picture of a North Shore Line “special” train was taken, but Gustafson Motors was located in Libertyville, along the Mundelein branch. FYI, we have several North Shore Line audio recordings available on compact disc in our Online Store, including some from the Mundelein branch. Garrett Patterson: “nsl003 would have been taken just weeks before the end of service system-wide. The 1962 Bel Air in the lot dates the photo.” One of our regular readers adds: “This was the CERA fantrip that was operated in April 1962. George Krambles operated the train in Evanston, and there are movies and slides of the train going south from Isabella going up the hill to the North Shore Channel bridge. The scene is seen in The Tribute to the North Shore Line video, which has been presented at January CERA meetings (although it is not commercially available). Of course the above photo is at Libertyville (which was a beautiful place in the country at one time).”

NSL 705 and 709 are near the Mundelein terminal on March 25, 1962.

NSL 705 and 709 are near the Mundelein terminal on March 25, 1962.


Chicago, Aurora & Elgin

CA&E 460 and an older car are in fantrip service during the late 1950s. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp writes: "This is at West Street looking west in Wheaton. The bridge over Liberty Drive at the start of the Elgin branch is seen in the background."

CA&E 460 and an older car are in fantrip service during the late 1950s. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp writes: “This is at West Street looking west in Wheaton. The bridge over Liberty Drive at the start of the Elgin branch is seen in the background.”

CA&E 452 at Geneva Road on March 9, 1957. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: "This is in Winfield. I believe looking north."

CA&E 452 at Geneva Road on March 9, 1957. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “This is in Winfield. I believe looking north.”

CA&E 404 is part of a two-car train at the Halsted curve on the old Garfield Park "L", probably not long before the end of downtown service in September 1953.

CA&E 404 is part of a two-car train at the Halsted curve on the old Garfield Park “L”, probably not long before the end of downtown service in September 1953.

CA&E 423 is part of a two-car train at Collingbourne. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: "Collingbourne is along the Elgin branch near Raymond St. and Elgin Ave."

CA&E 423 is part of a two-car train at Collingbourne. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “Collingbourne is along the Elgin branch near Raymond St. and Elgin Ave.”

One can only wish that the photographer had aimed the camera a bit lower, but nonetheless, CA&E 428 is part of a four-car train in July 1953 on the Halsted curve.

One can only wish that the photographer had aimed the camera a bit lower, but nonetheless, CA&E 428 is part of a four-car train in July 1953 on the Halsted curve.

CA&E 454 at an unidentified location. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: "This slide was identified by someone in a Wheaton FB group as being taken in 1952 at Jewell Road in Wheaton. Another person in the group said he believed it was looking south. He thinks that is Electric Avenue on the right or west."

CA&E 454 at an unidentified location. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “This slide was identified by someone in a Wheaton FB group as being taken in 1952 at Jewell Road in Wheaton. Another person in the group said he believed it was looking south. He thinks that is Electric Avenue on the right or west.”

CA&E work motors 2001 and 2002 in service in March 1959. By this time, it had been nearly two years since the end of passenger service. Freight only continued for a few more months after this. (B. J. Misek Photo)

CA&E work motors 2001 and 2002 in service in March 1959. By this time, it had been nearly two years since the end of passenger service. Freight only continued for a few more months after this. (B. J. Misek Photo)

We are not sure of the location where this picture of CA&E 403 was taken. Presumably, the box the conductor is carrying holds work-related materials. George Foelschow: "I believe CA&E Pullman 403 and unattached car 410 or 419 are on the eastbound track at Wheaton station. Presumably the two cars, one each from Aurora and Elgin, will be joined for the trip east, and the conductor of 403 would be redundant and no doubt be on the next Fox Valley train due in a few minutes to be split. One could travel between Elgin and Aurora in the same time as a City Lines bus taking a more direct route along the Fox River." Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: "I agree. Definitely at Wheaton station."

We are not sure of the location where this picture of CA&E 403 was taken. Presumably, the box the conductor is carrying holds work-related materials. George Foelschow: “I believe CA&E Pullman 403 and unattached car 410 or 419 are on the eastbound track at Wheaton station. Presumably the two cars, one each from Aurora and Elgin, will be joined for the trip east, and the conductor of 403 would be redundant and no doubt be on the next Fox Valley train due in a few minutes to be split. One could travel between Elgin and Aurora in the same time as a City Lines bus taking a more direct route along the Fox River.” Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “I agree. Definitely at Wheaton station.”

CA&E 420 at Church Road (Aurora).

CA&E 420 at Church Road (Aurora).

CA&E 424 near the end of the line, along the Fox River in Elgin. Meister Brau was a well-known Chicago beer for many years. Each spring, they would sell "Bock" beer, a stronger concoction made (I think) by scraping the bottom of the barrel. They introduced Meister Brau Lite in 1967. After Meister Brau got into financial difficulty in 1972, their brands were bought by Miller, who used Meister Brau Lite as the basis for developing Miller Lite.

CA&E 424 near the end of the line, along the Fox River in Elgin. Meister Brau was a well-known Chicago beer for many years. Each spring, they would sell “Bock” beer, a stronger concoction made (I think) by scraping the bottom of the barrel. They introduced Meister Brau Lite in 1967. After Meister Brau got into financial difficulty in 1972, their brands were bought by Miller, who used Meister Brau Lite as the basis for developing Miller Lite.

CA&E 405 is part of a two-car train. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: "This is identified by Mark Llanuza as being taken in 1956 between the College Ave station in Wheaton and Glen Ellyn. Photographer unknown."

CA&E 405 is part of a two-car train. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “This is identified by Mark Llanuza as being taken in 1956 between the College Ave station in Wheaton and Glen Ellyn. Photographer unknown.”

CA&E 317 is part of a four-car train of woods.

CA&E 317 is part of a four-car train of woods.


Chicago and Illinois

Indiana Railroad hi-speed lightweight interurban car 65 at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago in October 1956. It had last run in 1953 on the CRANDIC (Cedar Rapids and Iowa City) before being purchased by the museum as their first acquisition. That's Chicago & Milwaukee Electric 354, another early purchase, behind it.

Indiana Railroad hi-speed lightweight interurban car 65 at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago in October 1956. It had last run in 1953 on the CRANDIC (Cedar Rapids and Iowa City) before being purchased by the museum as their first acquisition. That’s Chicago & Milwaukee Electric 354, another early purchase, behind it.

Illinois Terminal double-end PCC 457 is part of a two-car train, northbound at 19th and State in the mid-1950s. Don's Rail Photos says, "457 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1949, #1672. It was sold for scrap to Biermann Iron & Metal Co on July 24, 1959, and was scrapped in 1964."

Illinois Terminal double-end PCC 457 is part of a two-car train, northbound at 19th and State in the mid-1950s. Don’s Rail Photos says, “457 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1949, #1672. It was sold for scrap to Biermann Iron & Metal Co on July 24, 1959, and was scrapped in 1964.”

The same location today.

The same location today.

In this undated photo, probably taken circa 1952, tracks are being laid in the southern half of Van Buren Street to create a temporary right-of-way for the Garfield Park "L", to allow the demolition of 2 1/2 miles of the old structure that were in the way of Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway construction. At right, you can see the old Throop Street Shops. This temporary alignment was used from September 1953 to June 1958.

In this undated photo, probably taken circa 1952, tracks are being laid in the southern half of Van Buren Street to create a temporary right-of-way for the Garfield Park “L”, to allow the demolition of 2 1/2 miles of the old structure that were in the way of Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway construction. At right, you can see the old Throop Street Shops. This temporary alignment was used from September 1953 to June 1958.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s heads west on temporary trackage at Van Buren and Western on July 1, 1956. This was just two weeks after streetcar service ended on Western Avenue. This picture was taken around the time that the sounds of 4000-series "L" cars were recorded on the Garfield Park "L" for Railroad Record Club LP #36, which has been digitally remastered and is now available on compact disc in our Online Store.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s heads west on temporary trackage at Van Buren and Western on July 1, 1956. This was just two weeks after streetcar service ended on Western Avenue. This picture was taken around the time that the sounds of 4000-series “L” cars were recorded on the Garfield Park “L” for Railroad Record Club LP #36, which has been digitally remastered and is now available on compact disc in our Online Store.

Western and Van Buren today, looking to the northeast.

Western and Van Buren today, looking to the northeast.

Since CTA PCC 4406 is signed for charter service, this picture was probably taken on October 21, 1956, when this car ran on a fantrip with red Pullman 225. We have run photos from that fantrip before. You can see one in our post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Six (February 22, 2016). Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me can tell which station (car barn) this is, whether Devon or 77th. Car 4406 lasted until the end of Chicago streetcar service and had a scrap date of June 23, 1959.

Since CTA PCC 4406 is signed for charter service, this picture was probably taken on October 21, 1956, when this car ran on a fantrip with red Pullman 225. We have run photos from that fantrip before. You can see one in our post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Six (February 22, 2016). Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me can tell which station (car barn) this is, whether Devon or 77th. Car 4406 lasted until the end of Chicago streetcar service and had a scrap date of June 23, 1959.

A two car train of Lake Street "L" cars crosses the Chicago River with the Merchandise Mart in the background, probably in the early 1950s.

A two car train of Lake Street “L” cars crosses the Chicago River with the Merchandise Mart in the background, probably in the early 1950s.

We ran a black-and-white picture of CSL/CTA sweeper E57 in our post Chicago Surface Lines Work Cars – Part 2 (September 7, 2015).

We ran a black-and-white picture of CSL/CTA sweeper E57 in our post Chicago Surface Lines Work Cars – Part 2 (September 7, 2015).

CSL/CTA Y303 is listed as a "baggage car," although some have called it a MoW or maintenance of way car. It was retired on September 27, 1956. Don's Rail Photos says, "Y303. baggage car, was built by C&ST in 1911 as 59. It was renumbered Y303 in 1913 and became CSL Y303 in 1914."

CSL/CTA Y303 is listed as a “baggage car,” although some have called it a MoW or maintenance of way car. It was retired on September 27, 1956. Don’s Rail Photos says, “Y303. baggage car, was built by C&ST in 1911 as 59. It was renumbered Y303 in 1913 and became CSL Y303 in 1914.”

This 1920s-era Chicago Surface Lines trailer was looking pretty shopworn by the 1950s, when this picture was taken at South Shops.

This 1920s-era Chicago Surface Lines trailer was looking pretty shopworn by the 1950s, when this picture was taken at South Shops.

CSL/CTA streetcar 1497 was renumbered as AA85 for work service as a salt spreader, the configuration we see it in here in this 1950s photo. It was scrapped on September 27, 1956. This was known as a "Bowling Alley" car. Don's Rail Photos: "1497 was built by CUTCo in 1900 as CUT 4546. It was rebuilt as 1497 in 1911 and became CSL 1497 in 1914. It was rebuilt as salt car and renumbered AA85 on April 15, 1948."

CSL/CTA streetcar 1497 was renumbered as AA85 for work service as a salt spreader, the configuration we see it in here in this 1950s photo. It was scrapped on September 27, 1956. This was known as a “Bowling Alley” car. Don’s Rail Photos: “1497 was built by CUTCo in 1900 as CUT 4546. It was rebuilt as 1497 in 1911 and became CSL 1497 in 1914. It was rebuilt as salt car and renumbered AA85 on April 15, 1948.”

According to Graham Garfield's excellent web site www.chicago-l.org, "CTA work car S-328 -- built by American Car & Foundry in 1907 as Northwestern Elevated trailer 1283, motorized and renumbered to 1792 in 1914 by the CER -- was converted for work service and renumbered in 1958." It was retired in August 1970 and scrapped. Wooden "L" cars were last used in regular service by the CTA in 1957. After spending their final days in work service, cars like these were replaced by retired 4000-series "L" cars. Here we see S-328 at DesPlaines Avenue terminal in June 1962. (George Niles Photo)

According to Graham Garfield’s excellent web site www.chicago-l.org, “CTA work car S-328 — built by American Car & Foundry in 1907 as Northwestern Elevated trailer 1283, motorized and renumbered to 1792 in 1914 by the CER — was converted for work service and renumbered in 1958.” It was retired in August 1970 and scrapped. Wooden “L” cars were last used in regular service by the CTA in 1957. After spending their final days in work service, cars like these were replaced by retired 4000-series “L” cars. Here we see S-328 at DesPlaines Avenue terminal in June 1962. (George Niles Photo)

In this June 1962 view. we see the CTA's DesPlaines Avenue terminal as it had been reconfigured in 1959. these very basic amenities continued n use until the station was rebuilt in the 1980s. I would assume that the pile of rubble in the foreground was related to the recent construction of a new maintenance facility here. The nearby expressway had been in operation since 1960. Presumably, the CTA bus is running route 17, which replaced the Westchester "L" branch in 1951. (George Niles Photo)

In this June 1962 view. we see the CTA’s DesPlaines Avenue terminal as it had been reconfigured in 1959. these very basic amenities continued n use until the station was rebuilt in the 1980s. I would assume that the pile of rubble in the foreground was related to the recent construction of a new maintenance facility here. The nearby expressway had been in operation since 1960. Presumably, the CTA bus is running route 17, which replaced the Westchester “L” branch in 1951. (George Niles Photo)

A pair of old Metropolitan "L" cars, now in work service, share space with CTA curved-door 6000s in this June 1962 view at DesPlaines Avenue. The new shops facility is at left. The large gas holder at right was a Forest Park landmark for many years. (George Niles Photo)

A pair of old Metropolitan “L” cars, now in work service, share space with CTA curved-door 6000s in this June 1962 view at DesPlaines Avenue. The new shops facility is at left. The large gas holder at right was a Forest Park landmark for many years. (George Niles Photo)


Authentic Birney Cars

This circa 1940 postcard shows the Ft. Collins Birneys in a different paint scheme, which is actually the one currently being used for the one operating car. Caption: "The intersection of College and Mountain Avenues is the 42nd and Broadway of Ft. Collins. It is the heart of the business district, the crossroads of the town. Where all street cars meet and all highways converge."

This circa 1940 postcard shows the Ft. Collins Birneys in a different paint scheme, which is actually the one currently being used for the one operating car. Caption: “The intersection of College and Mountain Avenues is the 42nd and Broadway of Ft. Collins. It is the heart of the business district, the crossroads of the town. Where all street cars meet and all highways converge.”

Car 26 in the Fort Collins car barn in June 1948.

Car 26 in the Fort Collins car barn in June 1948.

Fort Collins Municipal Railway Birney car 22 in the city park on April 30, 1947.

Fort Collins Municipal Railway Birney car 22 in the city park on April 30, 1947.

25 in reverse rush hour loop service downtown in October 1950.

25 in reverse rush hour loop service downtown in October 1950.

21 near Colorado State University in late June 1951.

21 near Colorado State University in late June 1951.

25 in southeast Fort Collins in October 1950.

25 in southeast Fort Collins in October 1950.

21 downtown in June 1948.

21 downtown in June 1948.

25 in reverse rush hour loop service downtown in October 1950.

25 in reverse rush hour loop service downtown in October 1950.

22 in downtown Fort Collins in October 1950.

22 in downtown Fort Collins in October 1950.

25 in southeast Fort Collins in October 1950. Here's what the Wikipedia has to say about the film advertised on the side of the car: "Ecstasy (Czech: Extase, German: Ekstase) is a 1933 Czech-Austrian romantic drama film directed by Gustav Machatý and starring Hedy Lamarr (then Hedy Kiesler), Aribert Mog, and Zvonimir Rogoz." Containing some nudity, although tame by today's standards, the film was banned in the United States until 1940, and played to adult audiences at independent theaters and art houses, without the approval of the Hays Office.

25 in southeast Fort Collins in October 1950. Here’s what the Wikipedia has to say about the film advertised on the side of the car: “Ecstasy (Czech: Extase, German: Ekstase) is a 1933 Czech-Austrian romantic drama film directed by Gustav Machatý and starring Hedy Lamarr (then Hedy Kiesler), Aribert Mog, and Zvonimir Rogoz.” Containing some nudity, although tame by today’s standards, the film was banned in the United States until 1940, and played to adult audiences at independent theaters and art houses, without the approval of the Hays Office.

22 near Colorado State University in October 1950.

22 near Colorado State University in October 1950.

21 at the south end of town in June 1948.

21 at the south end of town in June 1948.

21 near Colorado State University in late June 1951.

21 near Colorado State University in late June 1951.

22 in northwest Fort Collins in October 1950.

22 in northwest Fort Collins in October 1950.

24 in front of the car barn in October 1950. According to Don's Rail Photos, "2nd 24 was built by Brill Car Co in December 1922, #21530, as Virginia Railway & Power Co 1530 It was sold as FCM 24 in 1946 but seldom operated. Parts kept second Car 25 operating."

24 in front of the car barn in October 1950. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “2nd 24 was built by Brill Car Co in December 1922, #21530, as Virginia Railway & Power Co 1530 It was sold as FCM 24 in 1946 but seldom operated. Parts kept second Car 25 operating.”

21 at a passing siding in northwest Fort Collins in October 1950.

21 at a passing siding in northwest Fort Collins in October 1950.

Fort Collins Municipal Railway "Birney" car 21, at the intersection of Johnson and Mountain Avenues. (Ward Photo)

Fort Collins Municipal Railway “Birney” car 21, at the intersection of Johnson and Mountain Avenues. (Ward Photo)

FCMR 22 on October 26, 1949. Its paint scheme is described as green, red, and aluminum.

FCMR 22 on October 26, 1949. Its paint scheme is described as green, red, and aluminum.

FCMR 25 at the car barn. (Ward Photo)

FCMR 25 at the car barn. (Ward Photo)

Feel the Birn(ey)! After service in Fort Collins ended in 1951, car 26 was sold to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. But prior to being put on static display, it operated in a Detroit parade of street railway equipment in August 1953. Don's Rail Photos: "26 was built by American Car Co. in November 1922, #1324 as CERy 7. It was sold as FCM 26 it in 1924. It was sold to Henry Ford Museum and moved to Michigan in 1953 where it is on static display. It was operated several times on the trackage of the Department of Street Railways." (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo) To read more about 26's Michigan sojourn, click here.

Feel the Birn(ey)! After service in Fort Collins ended in 1951, car 26 was sold to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. But prior to being put on static display, it operated in a Detroit parade of street railway equipment in August 1953. Don’s Rail Photos: “26 was built by American Car Co. in November 1922, #1324 as CERy 7. It was sold as FCM 26 it in 1924. It was sold to Henry Ford Museum and moved to Michigan in 1953 where it is on static display. It was operated several times on the trackage of the Department of Street Railways.” (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo) To read more about 26’s Michigan sojourn, click here.

25 stored at Woodland Park, Colorado on September 4, 1953.

25 stored at Woodland Park, Colorado on September 4, 1953.

25 stored at Woodland Park, Colorado on September 4, 1953. This was the second car 25, the first having been scrapped. Don's Rail Photos adds, "2nd 25 was built by Brill Car Co in December 1922, #21530, as VR&P 1520. It was sold as FCM 25 in 1946. It was sold to James Stitzel in 1953 and resided next to the former Midland Terminal depot in Victor, CO, until it was sold to a South Carolina party about 1980. It was cosmetically restored. In 1998 it was sold to the Charlotte Trolley painted as South Carolina Public Service Co 407. It was sold to Fort Colins Municipal in 2008 and is being restored as 25."

25 stored at Woodland Park, Colorado on September 4, 1953. This was the second car 25, the first having been scrapped. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “2nd 25 was built by Brill Car Co in December 1922, #21530, as VR&P 1520. It was sold as FCM 25 in 1946. It was sold to James Stitzel in 1953 and resided next to the former Midland Terminal depot in Victor, CO, until it was sold to a South Carolina party about 1980. It was cosmetically restored. In 1998 it was sold to the Charlotte Trolley painted as South Carolina Public Service Co 407. It was sold to Fort Colins Municipal in 2008 and is being restored as 25.”

22 on static display at Golden, Colorado in July 1963.

22 on static display at Golden, Colorado in July 1963.

According to Don's Rail Photos, "22 was built by American Car Co in April 1919, #1184. It was retired in 1951 and sold to the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club in 1952. It was on static display at the Colorado Railroad Museum though 1997. It was leased to the Colorado Springs Transportation Society and presently being restored in the former Rock Island engine house. as Colorado Springs & Interurban Ry. 135." It is shown here in September 1972.

According to Don’s Rail Photos, “22 was built by American Car Co in April 1919, #1184. It was retired in 1951 and sold to the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club in 1952. It was on static display at the Colorado Railroad Museum though 1997. It was leased to the Colorado Springs Transportation Society and presently being restored in the former Rock Island engine house. as Colorado Springs & Interurban Ry. 135.” It is shown here in September 1972.

Restored FCMR 21 as it appeared on May 14, 1995. (Mark D. Meyer Photo)

Restored FCMR 21 as it appeared on May 14, 1995. (Mark D. Meyer Photo)

Before the Birneys, the Ft. Collins system used conventional streetcars, as seen in this postcard from circa 1910.

Before the Birneys, the Ft. Collins system used conventional streetcars, as seen in this postcard from circa 1910.

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Many other cities had Birneys, of course. Here, we see Brantford (Ontario) Municipal Railway car 137 on July 1, 1935. This was ex-Lock Haven, Pa. Electric Railway car #2. (George Slyford Photo)

Many other cities had Birneys, of course. Here, we see Brantford (Ontario) Municipal Railway car 137 on July 1, 1935. This was ex-Lock Haven, Pa. Electric Railway car #2. (George Slyford Photo)

Johnstown Traction double-truck Birney 311 on September 3, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo) Rockhill Trolley Museum: "The first car acquired by Rockhill Trolley Museum was car #311. This car is a double truck "Birney Safety Car" built by Wason Manufacturing Co. of Springfield, MA. It was part of an order of cars for the city of Bangor, Maine, where it operated at number 14. It was sold to the Johnstown Traction Co. and went there in 1941. It served that city well, running until the end of service in 1960. Car #311 was the last Birney type car to be operated in any United States city on a regular schedule. Car 311 was chartered repeatedly by trolley fans in the 1950's, as it was a favorite car of many." (Clark Frazier Photo)

Johnstown Traction double-truck Birney 311 on September 3, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo) Rockhill Trolley Museum: “The first car acquired by Rockhill Trolley Museum was car #311. This car is a double truck “Birney Safety Car” built by Wason Manufacturing Co. of Springfield, MA. It was part of an order of cars for the city of Bangor, Maine, where it operated at number 14. It was sold to the Johnstown Traction Co. and went there in 1941. It served that city well, running until the end of service in 1960. Car #311 was the last Birney type car to be operated in any United States city on a regular schedule. Car 311 was chartered repeatedly by trolley fans in the 1950’s, as it was a favorite car of many.” (Clark Frazier Photo)

Johnstown Traction double-truck Birney 311 at Coopersdale on September 3, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo) The sounds of car 311, in service during the 1950s, can be heard of Railroad Record Club LP #23, which has been digitally remastered and is now available on compact disc via our Online Store.

Johnstown Traction double-truck Birney 311 at Coopersdale on September 3, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo) The sounds of car 311, in service during the 1950s, can be heard of Railroad Record Club LP #23, which has been digitally remastered and is now available on compact disc via our Online Store.

Here is Johnstown 311 on June 30, 1957.

Here is Johnstown 311 on June 30, 1957.


NOW AVAILABLE, DIGITALLY REMASTERED ON COMPACT DISC:

cover025gtcover

SEGT
Steam Echoes
Ghost Train
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Steam Echoes:
First published in 1959, and long out of print, Steam Echoes captures the unforgettable sound drama of steam engines in action. Like Whistles West, it features the recordings of E. P. Ripley, made in the waning days of steam during the 1950s.

The scenes were selected for listening pleasure as well as to create an historical document. They represent the everyday workings of our old steam friends, selected for the most interest, or the most beauty. The series are purposely kept short to preserve their brilliance. They show the steam engine in all four of the ways it may be heard at work– riding in it, on the train behind it, traveling along beside it, and standing at trackside while it goes by, or stops and takes off again.

Railroads featured include Southern Pacific, Union Pacific, and Canadian National.

Ghost Train:
Ghost Train, first issued in 1962 and also long unavailable, is a Hi-Fi stereo sound panorama of haunting memories, highlighting the final days of steam railroading. Railroads featured include the Grand Trunk Western, Norfolk & Western, Nickel Plate Road, Union Pacific, and the Reading Company. A particular highlight is a special whistle recording, demonstrating the famous “Doppler Effect” in true stereophonic sound.

Total time – 79:45


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 150th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 184,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store. You can make a contribution there as well.

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Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 1-29-2016

Our previous post Trolley Dodgers (January 15, 2016) included a photo of the old Market Street stub terminal in downtown Chicago. Here is another view, probably from the late 1930s. It was torn down in 1948 after the CTA introduced A/B "skip-stop" service on the Lake Street "L", which rendered it unnecessary. (Chicago Transit Authority Photo)

Our previous post Trolley Dodgers (January 15, 2016) included a photo of the old Market Street stub terminal in downtown Chicago. Here is another view, probably from the late 1930s. It was torn down in 1948 after the CTA introduced A/B “skip-stop” service on the Lake Street “L”, which rendered it unnecessary. (Chicago Transit Authority Photo)

The Trolley Dodger mailbag is pretty full today, since we have received a lot of interesting correspondence lately. Mark Llanuza writes:

How did you get so interested in the CA&E?

I have lived in Chicago’s western suburbs pretty much my entire life. I was born in 1954 and therefore never rode the CA&E. As it was, my mother says she only rode it once, in 1946 as part of an outing with other people from the office she worked in downtown.

I know my mother took the Garfield Park “L” downtown when she worked there in 1952-53, after she married to my dad. They lived in Forest Park for a time.

In general, however, after my parents moved to the Mont Clare neighborhood, we took either the Lake Street “L” or the Logan Square line. (Although we lived very close to the Milwaukee Road commuter train, we didn’t ride it that much.)

When it was reported in the press in 1961 that the CA&E would be dismantled forever, my family took a Sunday drive out to Wheaton, where we looked forlornly at the cars in dead storage in the yard. I recall being glad at the time that they had not been vandalized.

When the Illinois Railway Museum began rail operations around 1966, we drove out there to ride the trains. And I have been back many, many times since.

As I grew up, I learned more and more about the CA&E, and am still learning.

Mark continues:

There were three final passenger trips that took place at year’s end in 1958. On Oct 26th the Central Electric Railfans’ Association chartered three cars (with a fourth car added later due to extra loading). It was listed as the last steel car trip and went to Elgin .

The second trip was charted on Nov 21st by a church group, and went from Glen Ellyn to Clintonville station, to the Fox Valley RR club.

The final one was on December 7th 1958, which I sent you many photos of, but I may have some more.

Mark did in fact send us more images, reproduced below. The ones from the final fantrip have also been added to our previous post A Cold Last Ride (January 25, 2016). We thank him for his generosity in sharing them with our readers.

Mark Llanuza's collection of CA&E slides include Kodachromes and Ektachromes. Kodachrome II was an improved version (with the film speed increased to ISO 25) released near the end of 1961. The original photographer's name is not known. (Mark Llanuza Photo)

Mark Llanuza’s collection of CA&E slides include Kodachromes and Ektachromes. Kodachrome II was an improved version (with the film speed increased to ISO 25) released near the end of 1961. The original photographer’s name is not known. (Mark Llanuza Photo)

The CERA fantrip train on the CA&E at Raymond Street, October 26, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection) This is the same curve where several photos were taken during the December trip, where we got them identified as near the Corrugated Box Company.

The CERA fantrip train on the CA&E at Raymond Street, October 26, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection) This is the same curve where several photos were taken during the December trip, where we got them identified as near the Corrugated Box Company.

The CERA fantrip train at 5th Avenue in Maywood, looking east, still just three cars at this point. The date is October 26, 1958 and the photographer was standing at the end of the platform, which is why the position is slightly elevated. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

TThe CERA fantrip train at 5th Avenue in Maywood, looking east, still just three cars at this point. The date is October 26, 1958 and the photographer was standing at the end of the platform, which is why the position is slightly elevated. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

Fifth Avenue in Maywood as it looks today. We are facing east.

Fifth Avenue in Maywood as it looks today. We are facing east.

The four-car CERA fantrip train at Raymond Street in Elgin. Mark Llanuza says the entire day was cold and rainy, and they had to add a fourth car at Wheaton because of the large number of people on this trip. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The four-car CERA fantrip train at Raymond Street in Elgin. Mark Llanuza says the entire day was cold and rainy, and they had to add a fourth car at Wheaton because of the large number of people on this trip. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

320-319 near the Corrugated Box Company on the Elgin branch, December 7, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

320-319 near the Corrugated Box Company on the Elgin branch, December 7, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

320 and engineer at the Lakewood station in West Chicago, December 7, 1958. As the CA&E operations wound down, starting with the abandonment of passenger service in 1957, employees were retained on the basis of seniority. Newer ones were let go while the oldest and longest serving employees remained. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

320 and engineer at the Lakewood station in West Chicago, December 7, 1958. As the CA&E operations wound down, starting with the abandonment of passenger service in 1957, employees were retained on the basis of seniority. Newer ones were let go while the oldest and longest serving employees remained. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

319-320 near the Clintonville Station on the Elgin branch, December 7, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

319-320 near the Clintonville Station on the Elgin branch, December 7, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

Mark also sent us a couple of before and after pictures:

1953 and 2015 compared in South Elgin. (Mark Llanuza Photo)

1953 and 2015 compared in South Elgin. (Mark Llanuza Photo)

1953 and 2015 at Lakewood. (Mark Llanuza Photo)

1953 and 2015 at Lakewood. (Mark Llanuza Photo)


We also came across some CA&E ephemera:

Lucian C. Sprague (1882-1960) was president of the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway from 1935 to 1954, and received this pass from the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin. Officials from various railroads gave each other these sorts of passes as a professional courtesy. The Chicago & North Western bought the Minneapolis and St. Louis in 1960.

Lucian C. Sprague (1882-1960) was president of the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway from 1935 to 1954, and received this pass from the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin. Officials from various railroads gave each other these sorts of passes as a professional courtesy. The Chicago & North Western bought the Minneapolis and St. Louis in 1960.

There was recently some discussion on Facebook regarding CA&E’s extensive use of uncovered third rail without fencing. It was noted that this arrangement had been in place since 1902 and residents of Chicago’s western suburbs were used to it. However, there were various signs warning of the dangers. If the CA&E had survived to the present time, no doubt there would be more protections in place.

This metal sign, said to have been used on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, recently sold on eBay for $280.

This metal sign, said to have been used on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, recently sold on eBay for $280.

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The CA&E 315 Story

Joel Salomon writes:

Thanks for the recent posting of all the great CA&E pictures on The Trolley Dodger blog. Some really fascinating images in that post.

I am a member and long time volunteer at the Rockhill Trolley Museum in Rockhill Furnace, PA. We have CA&E 315 at our museum and we are in the process of restoring the car to its original condition as built in 1909,or as close as we can make it.

One question that had always wondered me and others at the museum is how did 315 get out of Chicago and are there any photos of the car after the CA&E abandoned operations? We know the car was stored in a CN&W roundhouse for nearly a year and copies of that invoice are enclosed. But the big question is when did 315 leave the CA&E for the last time and are there any photos of that move? We do know when the car was ready to be moved to Pennsylvania the car was placed on a depressed flatcar and the trucks placed in a gondola car and moved to Mt. Union, PA. It was moved by a highway truck 11 miles to the museum site.

Do you know anyone that I might contact to help with this unknown part of the 315 story? I would appreciate knowing anyone that might be able to answer some of these questions or have pictures of 315 during its years on the CA&E as well as after abandonment.

Thanks for your help with these questions.

Thanks for writing. If, as I suspect, you are related to the late Gerhard Salomon, you might like to know I regard him as a hero for all his preservation efforts over the decades. I can only wish I had met the man to thank him personally.

While I do not have immediate answers to your various questions, I am confidant that I can help you find out, with the help of our readers.

One of my recent blog posts mentioned how the 320 (now at Mt. Pleasant) was the only car taken off the property that did not leave via a temporary interchange track with the C&NW.

It may very well be that the 315 left at the same time as some other cars that were saved, especially the ones that were heading east.

With any luck, I hope it will be possible to visit your fine museum sometime this year.

-David Sadowski

Joel Salomon is too modest. He is in fact the president of the museum. The images that follow are courtesy of Joel Salomon and the Rockhill Trolley Museum:

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RTY-PP CAE 315 184

315 flatcar side

RTY 315 Moving to RTM 038

Perhaps somewhat coincidentally, Mark Llaunza writes:

Here are some interesting last CA&E moves from April 1962. An interchange track was built at Wheaton to pick up cars from the yards. Trains were bought over to West Chicago to run around them, and they then headed back to Chicago.

While these photos do not necessarily help answer Mr. Salomon’s question, they do show seven CA&E cars being moved off the property in April 1962. If there were, as I have read, three such trains of cars, with the 320 being handled separately, then perhaps we have a one in three chance that the 315 was part of this train movement.

Since one of the invoices shown above pro-rated the cost for moving the 315 as 1/7th of the total, that would be another indication that it may have been in the group shown in these pictures. There most likely could not have been three such trains, as I recall only around 19 cars were saved. Maybe that improves our odds to 50% or perhaps greater.

The only car whose number I can recognize in these photos is the 303, which originally went to Trolleyville USA in Ohio. However, none of the cars in this photo have curved sides, so the four cars from the 451-460 series, which also went to the Gerald E. Brookins operation, are not among them and would have been moved in a different trip.

The 303 is preserved today at the Connecticut Trolley Museum. The 315 has been owned by the Rockhill group all along.

Update:

Frank Hicks writes:

IRM and RELIC each had their own “hospital train” and the 320 left separately so, by process of elimination, we can figure that the 315 was indeed in the seven-car “eastern museums” train in Mark’s photos. It looks to me like the order was 303-409-319-36-315-308-318.

BINGO! Thanks so much.

PS- The Railway Equipment Leasing and Investment Co. was the predecessor of the Fox River Trolley Museum.

Leaving the Wheaton interchange with the C&NW, April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

Leaving the Wheaton interchange with the C&NW, April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

On the C&NW at Wheaton in April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

On the C&NW at Wheaton in April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The saved CA&E cars on the C&NW in West Chicago, April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The saved CA&E cars on the C&NW in West Chicago, April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The saved CA&E cars on the C&NW in West Chicago, April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The saved CA&E cars on the C&NW in West Chicago, April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

On the C&NW at Western Avenue in April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

On the C&NW at Western Avenue in April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

This must be the March 24, 1962 train taking CA&E equipment purchased by RELIC, the predecessor to the Fox River Trolley Museum. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “11 was built by Brill in 1910, (order) #16483. It was rebuilt to a line car in 1947 and replaced 45. It was acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Investment Co in 1962 and came to Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It was lettered as Fox River & Eastern." This picture was taken in Glen Ellyn along the C&NW. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

This must be the March 24, 1962 train taking CA&E equipment purchased by RELIC, the predecessor to the Fox River Trolley Museum. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “11 was built by Brill in 1910, (order) #16483. It was rebuilt to a line car in 1947 and replaced 45. It was acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Investment Co in 1962 and came to Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It was lettered as Fox River & Eastern.” This picture was taken in Glen Ellyn along the C&NW. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

From www.thegreatthirdrail.org: The end has come for the Roarin’ Elgin. The rails have rusted over and the hallmark of the railroad, the third rail, has already been taken off of the third rail chairs. Fortunately all isn’t lost. On March 24, 1962, we see EJ&E 212 hauling several CA&E cars past the Wheaton station and Main Street to be preserved at RELIC (today’s Fox River Trolley Museum). Photo by TH Desnoyers, from the Krambles-Peterson Archive

From http://www.thegreatthirdrail.org: The end has come for the Roarin’ Elgin. The rails have rusted over and the hallmark of the railroad, the third rail, has already been taken off of the third rail chairs. Fortunately all isn’t lost. On March 24, 1962, we see EJ&E 212 hauling several CA&E cars past the Wheaton station and Main Street to be preserved at RELIC (today’s Fox River Trolley Museum).
Photo by TH Desnoyers, from the Krambles-Peterson Archive

The rescue train taking CA&E cars purchased by RELIC through Glen Ellyn. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The rescue train taking CA&E cars purchased by RELIC through Glen Ellyn. (Mark Llanuza Collection)


The Trolley Motel

Ruth Morgan writes:

There is a thesis at Mississippi State University on Land Use in Starkville. It is about 4 inches thick. I am attaching the pages on a trolley motel which is thought to have been the largest in the world. The trolleys were purchased by Vernon Chesteen from Birmingham and made into his motel prior to building one. It had a nice gas island with a streetcar diner. I located an aerial photo. I write an article for the Starkville paper entitled From Days Past and am trying to verify information. What I send you is true. The motel was on Highway 182 about a block west of town.

I wasn’t able to come up with anything about this Trolley Motel via a Google search. Perhaps my readers might know something more.

On Don’s Rail Photos, there is a page with information on the Birmingham streetcars themselves. Note this part:

Then, in August, 1941, cars 812, 816, 817, 830 thru 833, 835, and 838 were scrapped. A number of these car bodies were saved for non rail use, such as sheds and cabins.

Chances are those were the nine cars that were used for the Trolley Motel and associated diner. There is a picture of one such type car, which is known as a double-truck Birney. These cars were built in 1919 and 1920 by the Cincinnati Car Company, and were originally double-ended. They were eventually converted into single-end cars.

When these trolley cars were taken out of service, the motors, wheels, seats and control equipment would have been removed and saved for use on the remaining cars in that series. The car bodies would have been offered for sale, and would have been especially desirable in the immediate post-WWII era, when there was a housing shortage.

Back in those days, postcards were made of just about anything. It’s quite possible that a picture postcard may exist somewhere showing the Trolley Motel. Perhaps our readers may know something.

Ruth replies:

According to the thesis Lucille Liston Mitlin submitted to MSU to receive her master’s in geology and geography in August 1975, entitled “The Historical Development of Land Use in Starkville Mississippi, a Small University City,” it shows there was not much in the area during her days on campus.

The Trolley Motel was replaced by the University Motel about 1960 and all the “stars” who performed at MSU stayed there, including Johnny Cash. The motel no longer exists. Thank you so much for your research.

(Images below are courtesy of Ruth Morgan.)

This section of a 1975 dissertation describes how nine streetcar bodies from Birmingham, Alabama were used in a "Trolley Motel" in Mississippi. Eight were used as cabins and the ninth was a diner.

This section of a 1975 dissertation describes how nine streetcar bodies from Birmingham, Alabama were used in a “Trolley Motel” in Mississippi. Eight were used as cabins and the ninth was a diner.

An aerial photo, probably from the late 1940s, where you can just barely make out (at right) some of the streetcars in the Trolley Motel.

An aerial photo, probably from the late 1940s, where you can just barely make out (at right) some of the streetcars in the Trolley Motel.

Above is a 1952 MSU annual showing ads for the Gas Island, mentioning the diner and tourists.

Above is a 1952 MSU annual showing ads for the Gas Island, mentioning the diner and tourists.

Ruth sent us another note after this was posted:

THANK YOU! You are to be commended for the excellent job you do. This is the most reliable website I have seen. I talked to Mrs. V. J. Robinson, the sister-in-law of Mrs. Vernon Chesteen (about 90 years old). She remembers the trolley car motel. She said each trolley had 2 rooms so that would have been 16 rooms for the motel. Her two sisters worked in the trolley that was the diner. She is searching for old photos. Her mind is still clear as can be She has fond memories of the trolley car motel. Our town was crowded with students coming to Mississippi State University after the war. We had our largest increase in students during this time. Thank you again.

We are only too glad to help out. It’s worth pointing out that calling a double-truck Birney streetcar the largest in the world is a bit of hyperbole. I’m sure it was large, but of the same general size as plenty of other streetcars.


North Shore Line Abandoned Track?

Our youthful railfan Joey Morrow writes:

Does the North Shore Line have any abandoned track? The Skokie Valley doesn’t count because it was not abandoned when the NSL closed it’s doors. But I’ve found some track from the late 90’s though:

image1

image1-1

Skokie Valley? Nope that track was used after the abandonment. But the Shore Line might have some abandoned platforms– the Winnetka platform was still there in 2014. According to (http://www.sarahrothschild.com/real-estate–history-blog/archives/12-2014). The Indian Hill platform was still there in the late 90’s according to http://www.chicagorailfan.com/mpupn.html.
But the tracks… To find both the southbound and the northbound tracks, they weren’t dug up. They were surrounded in concrete almost impossible to notice. But… On 27 Ct. and 52 St. you will see them!

index

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(Be aware this is in July 2012 not 2016) I was so happy I almost started crying! To know that the fate of a few yards of track on the Chicago Aurora and Elgin, would be the same for a few yards of track on the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee! North of this location but before the line turns towards Racine, there might be some more. North of 45th St. I want to check it out, but I don’t live in Kenosha anymore, not even in the Midwest. No where near where I want to be.

Good work, Joey. Perhaps one of our readers can tell us whether your detective work is correct. And in the meantime, keep trying to turn your dreams into your realities. That’s what life is all about.

-David Sadowski

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks. You can either leave a comment on this or any other post, or reach us at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 115th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 117,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store. You can make a donation there as well.

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

We thank you for your support.


Attention, Juice Fans!

Ephemera from a 1957 CA&E fantrip organized by the late Maury Klebolt. He later moved to San Francisco and was instrumental in starting the historic trolley operations that continue to this day. (William Barber Collection)

Ephemera from a 1957 CA&E fantrip organized by the late Maury Klebolt. He later moved to San Francisco and was instrumental in starting the historic trolley operations that continue to this day. (William Barber Collection)

Back in the 1930s and 40s, railfans were sometimes referred to as “juice fans,” since they liked electric trains. I suppose this was a derisive term, at first, coined by outsiders to the hobby. But like many such nicknames, it was gradually embraced by the fans, who eventually wore it as a badge of honor. This explains its use in a 1957 flyer advertising a fantrip on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin in its last weeks of passenger operation, reproduced above.

Eventually, the term fell out of favor, and is about as common today as “Oh, you kid” or “23 Skidoo.”

Some months back, William Barber shared with us a picture taken on a 1957 Chicago, Aurora & Elgin fantrip. There was some question about the location, which our readers eventually identified as being on the Batavia branch, in the section between the old power house and the Batavia terminal.

One of the CA&E pictures in our last post Tokens of Our Esteem (January 20th) got Mr. Barber interested in sharing some additional CA&E pictures with us:

This 1955 photo's a bit of a mystery. Could this be Wheaton? William Barber: "Yes, this is Wheaton at the grade crossing immediately east of the depot." The location is Main Street looking east.

This 1955 photo’s a bit of a mystery. Could this be Wheaton? William Barber: “Yes, this is Wheaton at the grade crossing immediately east of the depot.” The location is Main Street looking east.

Main street looking east on Wheaton as it looks today.

Main street looking east on Wheaton as it looks today.

Bill Barber:

Reference this photo from the 01/20/16 Trolley Dodger. Yes, this is Wheaton at the grade crossing immediately east of the depot. Below are several photos that I took around 1959 or 1960. I apologize for the poor quality. The first one was taken from the upper platform of the tower looking east. Note the same building in the background and the the dead end switch leading from the eastbound main just before the next grade crossing. I have also attached some photos that my dad took on a 1957 Illini Railroad Club excursion.

The photos of cars 20 and 459 as well as the other operating equipment were all taken on an Illini Railroad Club fan trip on June 9, 1957. Attached are copies of a portion of the flyer for the trip and our ticket stubs. In the July 2015 issue of the Trolley Dodger, you posted another photo of mine from that same trip showing car no. 20 at a rural grade crossing which I thought was Prince’s Crossing. However, your readers corrected my comment and I think they finally identified it as near the Elgin terminal. (Editor’s note: It was actually identified as being on the Batavia branch, as you will see in the photo captions that follow below.) My other comments with that first post describe the events of that trip fairly well. Here they are again:

“As a 14 year old, I had the pleasure of riding the CA&E with my late father in June 9, 1957 on a Illini Railroad Club fan trip. At that time, the CA&E terminated at the Forest Park loop where our fan trip started. We covered the entire railroad from there to Wheaton, Elgin, Batavia and Aurora. We started with car #459 and would have used it for the entire trip except for a mishap that occurred while we were traveling up the Mt. Carmel Branch along Mannheim.

One of the third rail shoes struck a pile of gravel in the stone quarry and was damaged. We were able to operate to Wheaton with one shoe, but the Railroad decided that we should change cars there. This was a fine turn of events and significantly improved the trip for most of the passengers. Hopefully, someone else will respond who was on the same trip. I would like to hear from them. I am guessing that there were probably 40 people on that trip.”

The other four photos of the railroad at Wheaton after the shut down. Several friends and I drove over to the railroad during 1959 or 1960, from Downers Grove where we lived. At that time, of course, nothing was running, but most of the equipment was still held at the shop.

I just found the ticket stubs and part of the flyer for that trip, copy attached. I have also attached a copy of a flyer from another trip, but I don’t know if it ran or not. If it ran, we did not ride that trip.

 

Yes, the December 7, 1958 fantrip did take place, and was actually the last passenger train to ever run on the CA&E. Wood cars 319 and 320 were operated that day. We have previously posted a picture taken from that wintry day, and will include it in this post as well.

Interestingly, both cars were saved. 319 is at the Illinois Railway Museum, while 320 is in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. 320 had a notable distinction as, I believe, the last car ever to leave the CA&E property in April 1962, just prior to the complete dismantling of the railroad.

As Larry Plachno has written:

A special note must be made of car 320 which assumed some special importance. The car had been sold to the Iowa Railway Historical Museum in Centerville, Iowa. On Friday, April 6, 1962, Jim and Bob Lewis of the Museum and V. Allan Vaughn of the Iowa Chapter of the NRHS were in Wheaton to prepare 320 for movement to Iowa.

That morning was spent oiling journals and motors, removing motor brushes, and boarding up the car for movement. Arrangements had already been made with Walter Schneider, head of the Commercial Metals scrapping operation, for a special movement of this car. At 1:00 P.M. the Commercial Metals EJ&E switcher 212 came up to the car and was coupled up with an adapter coupler. By 1:30, the diesel and car 320 headed down the Aurora branch. By 2:30 P.M. the diesel and car reached the CB&Q interchange at Aurora. After arriving in Aurora, additional work was done on boarding up the windows for the trip west.

On Sunday, a CB&Q switcher pulled 320 to the Eola Yard where it was placed on a flat car for shipment to Centerville, Iowa. Only days later the Commercial Metals locomotive would return to Aurora to start ripping up rail. However, 320 arrived safely in Centerville and began museum operations on June 9 and 10, 1962. Consequently, 320 was the last car to operate over CA&E mainline rail. It was also the first museum car to operate after the abandonment of the CA&E. In all, 12 wooden passenger cars, seven steel passenger cars, one line car, and one flat car were saved. As far as is known, all but one car (320) left Wheaton through a temporary interchange track installed by the C&NW in Wheaton.

 

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 320 on CB&Q flat car 94027 at Eola, Illinois on May 12, 1962. (Chuck Zeiler Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 320 on CB&Q flat car 94027 at Eola, Illinois on May 12, 1962. (Chuck Zeiler Photo)

We thank Mr. Barber for sharing these great pictures with us.

I actually enjoy seeing the ones that have motion blur in them. They remind us that the “Roarin’ Elgin” wasn’t a static or slow-moving affair. It was all about SPEED and these pictures demonstrate that quite well, showing things in motion. I assume that several of these photos have not been published before.

CA&E car 20 is preserved in operable condition at the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin.

-David Sadowski

CA&E ROW at Wheaton Looking East from the gate tower. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E ROW at Wheaton Looking East from the gate tower. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Wheaton Station, which was eventually torn down. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Wheaton Station, which was eventually torn down. (William Barber Collection)

SF108 CA&E Wheaton Station

SF107 CA&E Wheaton Station

Main street looking west in Wheaton, the site of the old CA&E station.

Main street looking west in Wheaton, the site of the old CA&E station.

CA&E Motor 3002 at Wheaton Shops. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Motor 3003 at Wheaton Shops. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Motors 2001, 2002 and 3003 at Wheaton Shops. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Motors 2001, 2002 and 3003 at Wheaton Shops. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Motor 4006 at Wheaton Shops. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Motor 4006 at Wheaton Shops. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Motor no. 7 at Wheaton Shops. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Motor no. 7 at Wheaton Shops. (William Barber Collection)

In a previous post, our readers identified the location of this June 9, 1957 fantrip photo as being on the CA&E Batavia branch, between the power house and the Batavia terminal. This was one of but two sections on this branch that used overhead wire. (William Barber Collection)

In a previous post, our readers identified the location of this June 9, 1957 fantrip photo as being on the CA&E Batavia branch, between the power house and the Batavia terminal. This was one of but two sections on this branch that used overhead wire. (William Barber Collection)

As this enlargement from Roy Benedict's 1957 track map shows, there were but two places on the CA&E Batavia branch under trolley wire. Having eliminated State Road as a possibility, that pretty much decides it as the stretch between the Power House and the end of the line.

As this enlargement from Roy Benedict’s 1957 track map shows, there were but two places on the CA&E Batavia branch under trolley wire. Having eliminated State Road as a possibility, that pretty much decides it as the stretch between the Power House and the end of the line.

CA&E Car no. 459 on the Mannheim Spur, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 459 on the Mannheim Spur, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 20 Elgin, IL Station, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 20 Elgin, IL Station, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 20 meets a 450 series car at Geneva Junction on June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 20 meets a 450 series car at Geneva Junction on June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Motors 4005 & 4006 EJ&E interchange at Wayne, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Motors 4005 & 4006 EJ&E interchange at Wayne, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 459 End of Track 12th St., Hillside, IL, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 459 End of Track 12th St., Hillside, IL, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 20 taken from the EJ&E Bridge, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 20 taken from the EJ&E Bridge, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 20 on the Aurora Branch, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 20 on the Aurora Branch, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E 459 at Raymond Street in Elgin, June 9, 1957. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

CA&E 459 at Raymond Street in Elgin, June 9, 1957. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The flyer for what became the final passenger movement on the CA&E. Freight service lasted a few months into 1959 before it too was abandoned. Various efforts to revive the interurban failed, and it received government permission for complete abandonment in 1961. (William Barber Collection)

The flyer for what became the final passenger movement on the CA&E. Freight service lasted a few months into 1959 before it too was abandoned. Various efforts to revive the interurban failed, and it received government permission for complete abandonment in 1961. (William Barber Collection)

On December 7, 1958, CA&E wood cars 319 and 320 operated the last passenger train on that venerable railroad as a charter. Here, we are at Fifth Avenue station looking east. After the CTA abandoned the Westchester branch, this station was repainted in CA&E colors, and the interurban took over all service here from 1951-57.

On December 7, 1958, CA&E wood cars 319 and 320 operated the last passenger train on that venerable railroad as a charter. Here, we are at Fifth Avenue station looking east. After the CTA abandoned the Westchester branch, this station was repainted in CA&E colors, and the interurban took over all service here from 1951-57.

Another picture from the December 7, 1958 CA&E fantrip. Here, the snow has started falling and we are at the Elgin end of the line. (Mark LLanuza Collection)

Another picture from the December 7, 1958 CA&E fantrip. Here, the snow has started falling and we are at the Elgin end of the line. (Mark LLanuza Collection)


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Yesterday was The Trolley Dodger's first birthday, and that's the one that usually gets the most attention from the parents. They make a big fuss over the infant, throw a party, and take lots of pictures. Then, gradually, less and less pictures are taken of the brat and eventually he ends up in reform school. Anyway, we're off to a good start thanks to your help. Let's hope we don't get the "terrible twos."

Yesterday was The Trolley Dodger’s first birthday, and that’s the one that usually gets the most attention from the parents. They make a big fuss over the infant, throw a party, and take lots of pictures. Then, gradually, less and less pictures are taken of the brat and eventually he ends up in reform school. Anyway, we’re off to a good start thanks to your help. Let’s hope we don’t get the “terrible twos.”


Joey Morrow, one of our younger railfans, writes:

It’s the North Shore’s 53/100th anniversary!!!

Happy Birthday NSL, I thank the the world that I learned about the NSL and I think people should take a moment to look a how the railroads shaped America, and how the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad shaped high speed rail operation. 100 years ago the Chicago and Milwaukee electric was renamed into the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad, what it would remain for the last 47 years of service. 53 years ago (in about 2 1/2 hours). The railroad that shaped the awesome interurban era, will be the one to end it. It will ride the rails into heaven right behind her sister, the Chicago Aurora & Elgin, and it will show everyone the power of highways and what they can do to a railroad that shaped an era that could have been the railroads we see today.

Now the NSL shall sadly end what it has started. This railroad tops my list of favorite railroads. I watched the Amtrak HHP-8’s come to an end before I knew about the ACS-64’s. The awful story of Grand Trunk Western 5629 and 5632 scared me, to know the awesome steam power can’t stop a company to get it’s property. They shall join the other lost sister interurban roads that got lost from their southern sister. And the South Shore Line shall carry on the legacy of the interurban. The Iowa electric shall carry on last non-private electric freight operation, with their newest locomotives from 1923, these trains need help, help them. These stories of trains are what shape my life, and the adventure inside my soul to find remains of the NSL. Trains are what fuel me, it pumps steam powered pistons in my heart and turns drive wheels so I can walk. It’s what makes my life as a 13 year old in 7th grade possible. Please everyone, take trains into consideration, if there were no trains, then there will be no America. Trains are big, important, beautiful, behemoths on rails.

 

Thanks, Joey. Keep up the good work. Also keep in mind that, many times, when one door closes, another opens. While for many years there was one electric railway abandonment after another, now it is generally the reverse, with more and more new lines being built all the time.

Joey also asked if anyone can identify what railroad used to run in the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge in New York, on Plymouth Street. He is not sure whether these were freight tracks or streetcar. In the close-up view, you can see an overhead wire support:

image

joey02

So, let’s see if we can help out an aspiring (not expiring) railfan.

Dick Myers replies:

I have a possible answer to the question posed by Joey in your Trolley Dodger blog posting. I posed the question to another email group, and received the following reply:

That’s the Brooklyn Bridge you see in the photos and the tracks may have been those of the B.E.D.T. (Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal) which serviced the piers along the East River Brooklyn waterfront into the 1960s. They had a fleet of 0-4-0T locomotives. Steve Hayes

The Wikipedia article on this railroad indicates they only used steam and diesel locomotives.

 

Thanks, however further research has shown it was not the B. E. D. T. (PS- The 3-CD collection Twilight of Steam, available via our Online Store, has audio recordings on it of steam locomotives on the Brooklyn East District Terminal not long before they switched to diesel in 1963.)

Looks like both Seth (see comments section below) and Bill Wall have the correct answer:

The section of track you are looking at was formerly operated by the Jay Street Connecting RR, abandoned in 1959. It was never electrified. What you see there sticking out from the warehouse is most likely either an awning or some kind of hoist for unloading. Find attached another photo of the area from 1944:


Daniel Joseph has some additional information to share with us regarding off-street bus loops (mostly regarding Evanston):

The #202 and Saturday #203 short turns used Sherman-Davis as a terminal until those routes were discontinued. My memory fails me as to the location of the terminal for the #204.

If my memory is still working correctly, during Sunday Chicago Bears football games at Soldiers Field in the late 1980s, the left northbound lane of Lake Shore Drive south of Balbo was used by southbound #128 Soldiers Field buses. This will need verification.

The southbound contraflow bus lane in the left northbound lane in Lake Shore Drive from Balbo to Soldiers Field for Sunday Bears football games was confirmed by Robert Bourine and David L. Phillips. Unknown how the buses existed this lane.

Also the bus lane at Linden Purple Line is always used for bus replacement shuttles.

Weekday afternoons CTA operated a bus from Skokie Shops south on Crawford/Pulaski to Foster. In the morning a north bound trip may also have been provided.

Sherman & Davis bus bay was confirmed by Robert Bourine and David L. Philips. it was separated from Sherman by an Island with pillars supporting the parking garage.The city of Evanston has a photo.

Skokie Shops bus boarding in the parking lot was confirmed by Walter Keevil and David L. Phillips. In the afternoon it traveled south on Crawford/Pulaski to Foster. Technically this route would accept regular passengers at the parking lot. We cannot determine if a corresponding morning northbound trip existed.

 

Andre Kristopans adds:

It did turn into shop property. Routing at least until the 1970’s was Oakton-Dodge/California-Foster-Pulaski, I gather to make more connections. Also Sherman/Davis turn-in was used by all four Evanston routes until the big rearrangement when 202 and 203 went away and 205/206 started.

 



Model of North Shore Line Milwaukee Terminal

Yesterday, I noticed some interesting photos online in an e-mail distributed by Terrell Colson, posted by Jim Rindt:

There has recently been interest in the Depots by John “Midwest Interurban Terminal” which is, of course,The North Shore Line’s Milwaukee Terminal in HO scale. I built one for a customer a number of years ago but I cannot remember if I ever posted pics of it here or not. So here it is, enjoy!

 

After seeing the pictures of the model, I contacted Jim Rindt and asked if he would let us post them here.

He replied:

Thanks for your note. I would be glad to have you to post the pics of it on your blog. Your blog is one I enjoy.

My website is http://www.rindtsrelics.com and I have several other North Shore items available and soon the Insull Spanish depots in N, HO & O scales. By the Summer I am hoping to have HO kits available for the Dempster, Kenosha and Mundelein.

The Terminal kit came from John Dornfeld of Depots by John.

 

The original North Shore Line terminal in Milwaukee sat vacant for more than a year before it was torn down in the summer of 1964. Another building occupies the site at 6th and Michigan today, with nary a trace of traction heritage to be found. But model-making presents an opportunity to preserve history in another way, one that builds things instead of tearing them down.

That made it especially appealing to me yesterday, the 53rd anniversary of the North Shore Line’s demise. It is no coincidence that this is the same date I picked to launch The Trolley Dodger. I would like January 21st to be associated with new beginnings and not just sad endings.

There is a large North Shore Line sign very much like this one on display at the Illinois Railway Museum, although I do not know for certain whether it actually came from the Milwaukee terminal.

-David Sadowski

IMG_2537 Terminal Front - Side Street View

IMG_2531 Terminal Front Roof & Sign

IMG_2530 Terminal Rear Roof & Sign

IMG_2526 Terminal Rear Passenger Entrance

IMG_2525 Terminal Front Entrance

IMG_2524 Terminal Front Entrance

IMG_2518 Terminal Rear with Platforms

IMG_2517 Terminal Rear Entrance

IMG_2516 Terminal Front - Side Street View

IMG_2510 Terminal Rear Overhead

IMG_2552 Terminal Platforms

More LVT Photos & Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 12-14-2015

LVT 1006 making a backup move, which these single-ended cars had to do on a regular basis in Allentown. This must be near the end of service in 1951 as evidenced by the premature corrosion on the car (caused by electrolysis between the steel and aluminum plates it was built with).

LVT 1006 making a backup move, which these single-ended cars had to do on a regular basis in Allentown. This must be near the end of service in 1951 as evidenced by the premature corrosion on the car (caused by electrolysis between the steel and aluminum plates it was built with).

Our recent post about the Lehigh Valley Transit’s Liberty Bell Limited interurban (December 7) prompted us to dig around for some additional photos to share with you. In addition, we have some recent selections from the Trolley Dodger mailbag. Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks, either as comments, or to:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

-David Sadowski

LVT 1002 on the Philadelphia & Western in 1940. The straight track heading behind us is the original main line that went to Strafford (and gave the Strafford cars their name). It was eventually eclipsed by the extension to Norristown and was abandoned in 1956.

LVT 1002 on the Philadelphia & Western in 1940. The straight track heading behind us is the original main line that went to Strafford (and gave the Strafford cars their name). It was eventually eclipsed by the extension to Norristown and was abandoned in 1956.

In a 1951 snow scene, LVT 702 meets a 1000-series car.

In a 1951 snow scene, LVT 702 meets a 1000-series car.

LVT 702 and 812 on November 12, 1939.

LVT 702 and 812 on November 12, 1939.

An LVT 1000-series lightweight high-speed car on the Philadelphia & Western in the 1940s. According to Jim Graebner, the siding is "a yard track of the Millbourne Mills shop area. The long straight stretch of double track leads to the first station stop at West Overbrook, which is just over the hill out of sight."

An LVT 1000-series lightweight high-speed car on the Philadelphia & Western in the 1940s. According to Jim Graebner, the siding is “a yard track of the Millbourne Mills shop area.
The long straight stretch of double track leads to the first station stop at West Overbrook, which is just over the hill out of sight.”

LVT's Souderton car barn in 1951.

LVT’s Souderton car barn in 1951.

LVT 702 at Rink Siding in Norristown in 1951.

LVT 702 at Rink Siding in Norristown in 1951.

LVT 1020 and 1002 on Washington Street on an April 1, 1951 fantrip.  If you look closely, you will see lots of fans with their cameras on both cars.

LVT 1020 and 1002 on Washington Street on an April 1, 1951 fantrip. If you look closely, you will see lots of fans with their cameras on both cars.

LVT 704 and 1020 taking their last trip on the way to the Bethlehem Steel scrap line, on New Street near 3rd Street in Bethlehem on January 8, 1952, four months after service ended on the Liberty Bell Limited interurban. Some cars had to be towed, but these at least were still able to move on their own.

LVT 704 and 1020 taking their last trip on the way to the Bethlehem Steel scrap line, on New Street near 3rd Street in Bethlehem on January 8, 1952, four months after service ended on the Liberty Bell Limited interurban. Some cars had to be towed, but these at least were still able to move on their own.

Prior to being put into service on the Liberty Bell Limited in September 1941, LVT 1030 made the rounds throughout the system.  Note the sign advertising this new club car.  This may be Easton, usually the territory of the Easton Limited, LVT's other interurban.  Notice the difference in the shape of the rear end (curved) vs. that of the ex-Cincinnati & Lake Erie cars that LVT had (squared off).  That is because 1030 was originally Indiana Railroad car 55, and the IR lightweight high-speeds could be operated in multiple units and hence needed more clearance in back for turns.

Prior to being put into service on the Liberty Bell Limited in September 1941, LVT 1030 made the rounds throughout the system. Note the sign advertising this new club car. This may be Easton, usually the territory of the Easton Limited, LVT’s other interurban. Notice the difference in the shape of the rear end (curved) vs. that of the ex-Cincinnati & Lake Erie cars that LVT had (squared off). That is because 1030 was originally Indiana Railroad car 55, and the IR lightweight high-speeds could be operated in multiple units and hence needed more clearance in back for turns.

Lehigh Valley Transit Co. Liberty Bell Route right-of-way at Acorn Siding one year after abandonment, looking north in 1952.

Lehigh Valley Transit Co. Liberty Bell Route right-of-way at Acorn Siding one year after abandonment, looking north in 1952.

The Lehigh Valley Transit Co. Aineyville Viaduct over the Reading Railroad East Penn Junction in Allentown, PA in 1951.

The Lehigh Valley Transit Co. Aineyville Viaduct over the Reading Railroad East Penn Junction in Allentown, PA in 1951.

LVT built the Eighth Street Bridge in Allentown, which charged tolls. This vintage postcard was mailed in 1919.

LVT built the Eighth Street Bridge in Allentown, which charged tolls. This vintage postcard was mailed in 1919.

An LVT local car (yes, the interurban had locals as well as expresses) in Norristown in 1934, on the ramp up to the Philadelphia & Western terminal.

An LVT local car (yes, the interurban had locals as well as expresses) in Norristown in 1934, on the ramp up to the Philadelphia & Western terminal.

A Liberty Bell Limited saucer.

A Liberty Bell Limited saucer.

The LVT crockware was made in Allentown. According to author Ron Ruddell, these were custom-fired in 1914 for use on car 999.

The LVT crockware was made in Allentown. According to author Ron Ruddell, these were custom-fired in 1914 for use on car 999.

This vintage liberty Bell Limited mustard pot recently sold on eBay for $429.99, although not to me (my finances don't cut the mustard for stuff like this).

This vintage liberty Bell Limited mustard pot recently sold on eBay for $429.99, although not to me (my finances don’t cut the mustard for stuff like this).

Jamestown (NY) Street Railway car 82, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1917, was sold to Lehigh Valley Transit in 1938 as part of their modernization program, where it was renumbered into the 400-series.

Jamestown (NY) Street Railway car 82, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1917, was sold to Lehigh Valley Transit in 1938 as part of their modernization program, where it was renumbered into the 400-series.

A vintage uniform patch.

A vintage uniform patch.

A P&W "Bullet" car side by side with the LVT at the 69th Street Terminal in 1948. The following year, Liberty Bell Limited service would be cut back to Norristown.

A P&W “Bullet” car side by side with the LVT at the 69th Street Terminal in 1948. The following year, Liberty Bell Limited service would be cut back to Norristown.

A rear view of two Lehigh Valley Transit ex-Cincinnati & Lake Erie "Red Devils" shows how their squared-off ends were not designed for multiple-unit operation. By comparison, car 1030, adapted from Indiana Railroad car 55, had a rounded end and was designed for multiple unit operation. Presumably, this is the Fairview car barn in Allentown. Liberty Bell Limited interurban service ended in 1951.

A rear view of two Lehigh Valley Transit ex-Cincinnati & Lake Erie “Red Devils” shows how their squared-off ends were not designed for multiple-unit operation. By comparison, car 1030, adapted from Indiana Railroad car 55, had a rounded end and was designed for multiple unit operation. Presumably, this is the Fairview car barn in Allentown. Liberty Bell Limited interurban service ended in 1951.

The final meet between two Liberty Bell Limited cars (1006 and 702), late in the night on September 6, 1951. The operators are F. Enters and C. Kistler. This was a press photo and appeared in newspapers. (Gerhard Solomon Photo)

The final meet between two Liberty Bell Limited cars (1006 and 702), late in the night on September 6, 1951. The operators are F. Enters and C. Kistler. This was a press photo and appeared in newspapers. (Gerhard Solomon Photo)

Recent Correspondence

Joey Morrow writes:

On this link there are 2 photos that show the northbound (outbound) platform directly north of Elm street east of the (North Shore Line) Winnetka Station which would have been on the modernized section of the Shore Line route. The only thing remaining are the cement blocks that supported the platform structure. The platform is long gone, but the cement supports are still fighting trees and other greenery from taking out the last known platform (that I know of) from America’s fastest interurban era. The strange thing is that this platform was abandoned in 1955.

Obviously it’s either gone (let’s hope not), or it’s so hidden you can’t see it. But it’s pretty clear that those photo’s are not old. I’m pretty sure that one of them is still there, or at least the foundation of the platform.

P.S. Thank you so very much for posting my email on your blog, you totally made my day!

The Shore Line was abandoned in 1955 since it was a lot slower than the Skokie Valley route and presumably had a lot fewer passengers. It also had a lot more direct competition. Of course, their eventual goal was to abandon everything, which did happen in 1963.

Around 1950, the CTA proposed turning over the Evanston/Wilmette service to the North Shore Line, in exchange for having all their trains terminate at Howard. I am sure some people at the CTA regarded the interurban operations on their tracks as an inconvenience that created various operating complications. With the CTA’s attempts to speed up service, at first by using A/B skip-stop service, then later high speed motors, they felt that reasonable times to downtown could still be achieved even if interurban passengers had to change trains at Howard (or Forest Park).

This did not work out so well for the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin in 1953-57 but that was mainly due to the very slow temporary trackage on Van Buren Street (2 1/2 miles). Who knows how things would have worked out if CA&E had survived after the new Congress rapid transit line had opened in June 1958?

Riley O’Connor writes (in reference to our recent post about the Ken Kidder O-scale model of CSL 7001):

Thanks for the reference to the CSL car. It sometimes seems that the best we can do is get “close enough” for colors. And, sometimes an educated guess is closer to reality than the rivet counters want to admit.

I follow a seller on eBay who operates out of Waukesha and he seems to be knowledgeable about the Kidder 0-Scale production. There appear to have been quite a number of these short production run cars in addition to your CSL car. I just haven’t had time to sit down and pick his brain about them. Kidder specialized in this sort of thing, and these cars appear to be at the direction of a buyer or two, with an additional unknown number of “spec” cars. No telling where he got the drawings of the different cars; perhaps Wagner.

From what I’ve seen, Kidder did, among other things, an Electroliner body (four cars, but no floor or mechanism) and a number of interurbans. Also at least one city car in 0-Scale.

By the way, I’ve read your blog on many occasions and I thank you for doing it. It’s very interesting.

One possible source for the 7001 blueprint would be Car Plans of the Chicago Surface Lines (1962), published by the Electric Railway Historical Society as their 38th bulletin. All 49 ERHS bulletins have been reissued by Central Electric Railfans’ Association on a DVD data disc in PDF form, and are available directly from them or their dealers.

I’ve seen Ken Kidder brass Birney cars for sale on eBay, both single and double truck. The double truck Birney would be the same type of car (Johnstown 311) featured on Railroad Record Club LP #23, Pennsylvania Trolleys, available on CD via our Online Store. This car still exists and was the first one acquired by the Rockhill Trolley Museum in Pennsylvania.

birney1

birney2

birney3

Kenneth Gear writes:

I started buying RRC LPs from Mr. Steventon back when I was in high school (Mid-1970s) My uncle had RRC 10 PRR and he loaned it to me and I enjoyed it very much. In spite of the fact that this record was almost fifteen years old, I wanted to find out if the other LPs (I knew there had to be at least nine others) were still available. I wrote a letter to the Railroad Record Club thinking that I’d never get a reply. Could the post office even deliver a letter addressed simply Hawkins, Wisconsin? A few weeks later I got a nice handwritten note from Mr. Steventon (I sure wish I had saved it) explaining that RCA had lost or destroyed his master discs that the LPs were made from. He was in the process of having new masters made using good copies of the 10″ LPs. He would then start selling the remastered records as 12″ discs.

I would end up buying eight LPs over the next couple of years, but for a while my interest faded. By the time I wanted to start buying more, it was all over.

Just one of the reasons I enjoy these records (CDs) so much.

Awhile ago I sent a few Railroad LPs to a company I found online. I spoke to the sound engineer on the phone before I sent any thing to them. He admitted that he had no idea what to do with locomotive sound recordings but he agreed to make simple transfers to CD without attempting any restoration or track dividing. The results were CDs that sounded exactly like playing the LPs. Your work is so much better that there is no comparing them.

So far, I haven’t been able to find anything to indicate that Steventon (1921-1993) had any children. His wife’s name was Mary (née Witt) (1921-2003) and they got married in Washington, D. C. in 1954, when they were in their early 30s.

She outlived him by ten years and it looks like someone else helped clean out their house after she died. His own personal collection of RRC LPs ended up getting sold one-by-one on eBay.

I would like to think that we are continuing to carry out Mr. Steventon’s life mission by making these fine recordings available once again in modern form as compact discs.

Dennis Kern writes:

I wrote you a while back asking if anyone might have photos/plans of interurban stations/depots specifically ones like the ones on Northern Indiana Power. This was the line that ran from Marion, Indiana to Frankfort, Indiana and more specifically like the depot in CERA book bulletin 102, 1958 on pg 55 of Michigantown – Bottom right. The depot in this photo is very like the one we are working on in Russiaville, Indiana. I know you indicated you might ask around however since I have not heard anything more I assume you did not find anything. You will recall we want to restore the Waiting room in the depot. We did find one photo of the Agents office which is attached for you.

!. Can you tell me your opinion of generally what a waiting room would be like. I am thinking a lot of depots had vertical siding about 3 feet up from the floor covering the lower portion of the plaster. This wood was like box car siding I think. Would appreciate any suggestions you might have because if we can not find anything specific we will just make it look like a generic depot interior.

2. Could you look at the photo – Questions; the two men in uniform – one is an agent. The uniforms are different i.e. one has a dark shirt – other has a white shirt also different hats – we have talked about trying to obtain some uniforms like these and putting some “dummies” in the depot agents office. Any idea where we might obtain uniforms like these. Also any idea on the route map on the wall above the desk, Also the telephone. Also would you say what I think is a window – to the left of door in the back – might be a ticket window – what do you think. Also any comments you might have about the other objects in the office.

Thanks for your time in looking at this.

interurban station

Let me ask the readers of my blog and also some of the railroad discussion groups I belong to. I apologize for not following through on your previous request. Chances are some of our readers will offer some excellent ideas.

Thanks.

Andre Kristopans writes:

I have a series of huge sheets from1939 that detail car equipments. Would have to scan in three sections to send, and right now scanner is acting up anyway. However, let me give you some interesting tidbits regarding the Odd 17 (actually 19) cars:

6138-6146, 3090 built 1918

11’8-3/16″ high

6138-6142 Brill 27GE1 trucks, 4’10” wheelbase, 4 GE 226-A 45hp motors weight 46700

6143-6145 MCGMCB A/Brill 27FE1 trucks, 6′ wheelbase, 4 GE 80-A 40hp motors, weight 51600

6146 Brill 39E trucks, 4’10” wheelbase, 2 GE 242-B 65hp motors, weight 40600

3090 Brill 39E-1 trucks, 4’10” wheelbase, 2 GE 242-B 65hp motors, weight 41100

6147-6154, 3091 built 1919

11’9-3/8″ high

6147-6153 Brill 27GE1 trucks, 4’10” wheelbase, 4 GE 226-A 45hp motors, weight 46100

6154 Brill 51-E2 trucks, 4’10” wheelbase, 4 GE 80-A 40hp motors, weight 51150

3091 Brill 39E-1 trucks, 4’10” wheelbase, 2 GE 242-B 65hp motors, weight 41800

27GE1 trucks with 226A motors (12) almost certainly came from 1429-1526 series cars, of which many were sold 1914-1916

MCB 10A trucks (the 6-foot wheelbase ones) with 80A motors would have come from 5001-5200 series, though trucks were apparently rebuilt by Brill as “27FE-1″ as MCB 10A trucks were only 4’10” wheelbase.
There were three cars burned 1916, 5169, 5194,5303.

39Ewith 242-B motors would have come from 5701?

39E1 with 242-B motors on 3090-3091 might have been new purchases as no other cars with 242-B motors were retired by 1918-19

Here is some more info on these 19 cars. Officially, 6138-6142 replaced 2520, 2526, 2584, 2597, 2621, 6147-6150 replaced 2515, 2546, 2565, 2585, 6151 replaced 2777, 6152 replaced 5239, 6153 replaced 5765, and 6154 replaced 2561. However, the reality is a bit different.

2500’s had 4 GE 67 40hp motors and 6′ wheelbase St Louis MCB trucks. Very different from 226-A’s and 27GE-1 trucks.

2777 had again 4 GE 67 40hp motors and Brill 51-E-2 trucks

5239 GE 80A 40hp motors and Brill 27FE trucks

Possibly 2777’s trucks ended up under 6154, with 5239’s motors?

6143-6146 do appear to have the equipments of 5169,5194,5303,5701 which they “replaced”. However, note that 1927 inventory shows 6143-6145 with GE 80 (not 80-A) motors. This might be an error, though.

It would appear that 6138-6142 and 6147-6153 did not have the equipments from the cars they “replaced” at all, but instead had trucks and motors from entirely different cars, the 1409-1505 series Bowling Alleys. One wonders if the 2500’s trucks went with the 1400’s bodies when they were sold off?

In addition 3090-3091 “replaced” 1405 and 1360, Matchboxes. Again, no equipment match. St Louis 47A trucks with GE 80A 40hp motors vs Brill 39E-1 trucks and 242-B motors. In 1927, though, 3090 is shown with GE 80A motors, which were apparently from the Matchbox, but by 1939 has 242-B’s.

Here is an interesting tabulation. One-man conversions over the years.

1994-1999 to convertibles (can be operated one or two man) 1936
2841,2842,2845 to one-man 1926-27
5703-5722 to convertibles 1933
5723-5731 to convertibles 1935
6000-6019 to one-man 1945, back to 2-man 1946
6061-6065 to convertibles 1936
1721-1726,1728-1737,1739-1753,1755-1762,1764-1769,1771-1785, 6155-6158 to one-man 1949-50
3119-3129,3131-3132,3134-3149,3151,3153,3154,3156-3158,3160, 6159-6186 to one-man 1949-50
3161-3169,3171-3175,3177,3178,6187-6196,6198 to one-man 1949-50
3179 to convertible 1935
3200-3201 to convertibles 1936
3202-3231,6199-6218,3232-3261,6219-6238 to one-man 1932
3204-3206,3210-3216,3220,3222-3224,3227,3229,3244,6219-6221,6223-6227,6229,6235 return to 2-man 1948, back again to 1-man 1949
3262-3281,6240-6252 to one-man 1932
3262,3264,3265,3267-3270,3275,3276,3278,3279,6241-6252 return to 2-man 1948, back again to 1-man 1949
3282-3301,6253-6265 to one-man 1932
6253,6255,6257,6258,6261,6264,6265 return to 2-man 1948, back again to 1-man 1949
3302-3321,6266-6279 to one-man 1932
3319,3321 return to 2-man 1948, back again to 1-man 1949
3325,3347-3349,3351,3352,3354,3355,3357,3360,3361-3363,3368,3372,3378,3379,6303,6305,6310,6319 to one-man 1952, never operated as such
4002-4051,7002-7034 to one-man 1952
4052-4061 to one-man 1952, 4059-4061 back to 2-man 1954, then all 4052-4061 to convertibles 1955
7035-7044 to one-man 1952, back to 2-man 1954, to convertibles 1955
7049,7052,7053,7057,7058,7060,7062,7064,7066,7067,7070-7074 to one-man 1952, but back to 2-man same year
7235-7249,7251,7253-7259 to convertibles 1955

Thanks!!

Ron Ruddell writes:

The China shown on your blog embossed with the Liberty Bell was not used in any depot restaurant. It was custom-fired in 1914 for Liberty Bell Car 999. Please see my book “Riding on the Bell” – page 78 for further information. I have a pickle dish of the same pattern.

Thanks for the correction.

Nice to hear from you again. Congratulations on the successful completion of your excellent and very definitive work on the Liberty Bell interurban.


In the News

Upcoming Exhibition at Grohmann Museum in Milwaukee

Jan. 22 – April 24, 2016
Art of the North Shore Line

With its rapid expansion in the 1920s, the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad set the standard for electric interurban transit in America; no railway could compare to the North Shore Line. The North Shore Line also established itself as a leader in marketing with a highly successful print ad and poster campaign featuring the work of designers Willard Frederic Elmes, Oscar Rabe Hanson and Ervine Metzl, among others. Assembled from the collection of the Milwaukee Public Library and a number of private collections, this exhibition features many of these memorable posters along with photographs, prints and ephemera from the height of the North Shore Line’s success. Curated by photographer John Gruber and J.J. Sedelmaier, world-renowned artist, designer and animator of Saturday Night Live’s TV Funhouse.

Gallery Night and Day
Friday, Jan. 22, 5 to 9 p.m. – Free admission
(Presentation by John Gruber and J.J. Sedelmaier, guest curators, at 7 p.m.)
Saturday, Jan. 23, Noon to 6 p.m. – Free admission

Grohmann Museum
1000 N. Broadway
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 277-2300
grohmannmuseum@msoe.edu


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