A Long Time Gone

Chicago postwar PCC 7216 is shown heading south on Clark at Harrison on March 11, 1958. I was attracted to this shot since the woman and child who are about to board could just as well be me and my mother at that time. (Photo by A. Goddard)

Chicago postwar PCC 7216 is shown heading south on Clark at Harrison on March 11, 1958. I was attracted to this shot since the woman and child who are about to board could just as well be me and my mother at that time. (Photo by A. Goddard)

June 21st marks 60 years since the last Chicago streetcar ran. If you consider that 80 years is, perhaps, about an average lifespan, that means 3/4ths of such a time has now passed since that historic event.

The number of people still living who rode Chicago streetcars is dwindling, and is certainly only a small fraction of the current population. At age 63, I must be among the youngest people who can say they rode a Chicago streetcar on the streets of Chicago, much less remember it.

But the number of people who have taken a ride on a Chicago streetcar does increase, since there are a number of them that are operable at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union. The Seashore Trolley Museum (Kennebunkport, ME) has another car (225) that is operated infrequently.

The experience of riding at a railway museum is, of necessity, somewhat different than what people experienced 60+ years ago on the streets of Chicago. However, as a “streetcar renaissance” is underway across the country in various cities, the number of track miles in city streets has been increasing. In those places, it is possible to experience something more like what Chicago once had.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin will soon join that list, just 90 miles north of Chicago. After a similar 60-year gap in streetcar service, their first new line, aka “The Hop,” is expected to begin service mid-November. (You can read our recent update here. Since our article appeared, the new cars have begun testing out on the streets.)

Interestingly, a heritage trolley recently began service in Rockford, Illinois, which is also about 90 miles from Chicago.

For the past 18 years, Kenosha, Wisconsin (about 65 miles from Chicago) has operated a tourist trolley, which you can even reach using Metra‘s Union Pacific North Line.

Perhaps the streetcar line that would offer a ride closest to what Chicagoans could once experience, however, is the SEPTA #15 Girard Avenue line in Philadelphia, which is operated with modernized PCC cars.

I can also recommend the Muni F-Market and Wharves line in San Francisco, which operates using a variety of historic equipment.

Anyway you look at it, this anniversary is a good excuse to feature some classic Chicago traction photos, which we hope you will enjoy.

But wait– there’s more!

June 22, 1958 is another important date in Chicago transit history. 60 years ago, a new CTA rapid transit line opened in the median of the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway. This line, also known as the “West Side Subway,” replaced the Garfield Park “L” and was the culmination of plans made 20 years before.

Another important anniversary is approaching on October 17th– the 75th anniversary of the opening of Chicago’s first subway. In December, it will be 80 years since subway construction began.

For these reasons, and more, we have written a new book called Building Chicago’s Subways, to be released by Arcadia Publishing this October 1st. Information about how to pre-order this book appears further down in this post.

The idea for Building Chicago’s Subways first came to me a few years ago, when I realized these important anniversaries were approaching. A few months after the publication of Chicago Trolleys last fall, I pitched the idea to Arcadia, and that is when the real work began.

Much additional research had to be done. I read everything I could find on the subject. Photos came from my own collections and those of other collectors, who have graciously permitted their use in this project.

Here is a short description of the book:

While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

The story goes back much further than that… before there were rapid transit tunnels, there were tunnels under the Chicago River, used by cable cars and streetcars. In the early 1900s, private enterprise built an extensive system of freight tunnels under the downtown area. And there was about 40 years of wrangling over what kind of subway to build, where to build it, and who should pay for it.

I found it a fascinating tale, and am gratified that I have been able to complete this new book in time for the anniversary, and within the living memory of Chicagoans who were here to witness these events 75 long years ago. The State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee and West Side Subways have changed life for everyday Chicagoans forever.

-David Sadowski

PS- The Chicago Transit Authority posted this excellent video showing the last run of car 7213 in the early morning hours of June 21, 1958 (the June 22 date in the video is not correct):

Jeffrey L. Wien and I, along with the late Bradley Criss, collaborated on the book Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958, published in 2015 as Bulletin 146 of the Central Electric Railfans’ Association.

For this anniversary, I asked Mr. Wien, who rode on the last Chicago streetcar, to reminisce for our readers:

Today, June 21, 2018, marks the 60th anniversary of my ride on the Last Chicago Streetcar with my high school friend Greer Nielsen. Thinking back 60 years I recall that it was a very melancholy event, one that remained in my mind for the rest of my life.

Thinking back 60 years can be a challenging task, but I do remember that it was a warm and muggy night on that last ride. CTA PCC 7213 was the last car on the shortened route 22 Wentworth line. The last run south from Clark and Kinzie began around 4am. There were probably at least 100 people crammed into that car so that they could say that they rode the Last Chicago Streetcar. As the car headed south through the Loop headed to 81st and Halsted, the group was quite loud and raucous, but as we went farther and farther south, the crowd quieted down, perhaps because we wanted to hear the sound of the streetcar in the streets of Chicago for the very last time.

When we arrived at 81st and Halsted, everyone got off the car for photos, private and official, and then reboarded the car for the last time for the short trip to Vincennes and 78th where the car pulled off of the street. It was about 6:15am by that point in time, and the Sun was just rising.

As the 7213 pulled away from Vincennes Avenue heading into the Rising Sun, we knew that we had witnessed an historic event in the history of Chicago. 99 years of traction history in Chicago ended at that moment. For me, it was a very sad moment for it was like losing a very good friend.

Jeff Wien

Chicago Area Recent Finds

Chicago's PCCs did not operate in multiple units, but you would be forgiven for thinking so from this photo. Car 4172 and a very close follower are heading south at Clark and Division circa 1950. Note there are not yet any advertising brackets on the sides of the PCCs. At right, there is an entrance to a CTA subway station, which is today part of the Red Line.

Chicago’s PCCs did not operate in multiple units, but you would be forgiven for thinking so from this photo. Car 4172 and a very close follower are heading south at Clark and Division circa 1950. Note there are not yet any advertising brackets on the sides of the PCCs. At right, there is an entrance to a CTA subway station, which is today part of the Red Line.

CTA PCC 4366, a Pullman, heads north on diversion trackage on Halsted at Congress in 1950. This was necessitated by construction of the bridge that would go over the Congress expressway (now the Eisenhower, I290). Bridges that crossed the highway were the first things built, since traffic could be routed around them. Once a bridge was finished, the area around it could be dug out.

CTA PCC 4366, a Pullman, heads north on diversion trackage on Halsted at Congress in 1950. This was necessitated by construction of the bridge that would go over the Congress expressway (now the Eisenhower, I290). Bridges that crossed the highway were the first things built, since traffic could be routed around them. Once a bridge was finished, the area around it could be dug out.

CTA PCC 7148, running northbound on Route 36 - Broadway, turns from Broadway onto westbound Devon in 1955, with the Howard line "L" in the background. The date written on this slide mount was 8-14-56, but the turning car has a 1955 Illinois license plate on it, so perhaps the correct date is 8-14-55. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA PCC 7148, running northbound on Route 36 – Broadway, turns from Broadway onto westbound Devon in 1955, with the Howard line “L” in the background. The date written on this slide mount is 8-14-56, but the turning car has a 1955 Illinois license plate on it, so perhaps the correct date is 8-14-55. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA Pullman-built PCC 4124 is eastbound on Route 20 - Madison at Cicero Avenue in 1953. The PCC is signed for Kedzie, so it is most likely a tripper, heading back to the barn. Streetcar service on the main portion of Madison ended on December 13, 1953.

CTA Pullman-built PCC 4124 is eastbound on Route 20 – Madison at Cicero Avenue in 1953. The PCC is signed for Kedzie, so it is most likely a tripper, heading back to the barn. Streetcar service on the main portion of Madison ended on December 13, 1953.

The same building as in the previous picture.

The same building as in the previous picture.

Rust never sleeps, as the saying goes, and that is evident in this picture of a Chicago Surface Lines (now CTA, but still sporting a CSL logo) electric loco as it looked in the 1950s. Behind it is one of the CSL trailers that were used during the 1920s, pulled along behind other streetcars. Once ridership dropped during the Great Depression, these were used for storage at various CSL yards.

Rust never sleeps, as the saying goes, and that is evident in this picture of a Chicago Surface Lines (now CTA, but still sporting a CSL logo) electric loco as it looked in the 1950s. Behind it is one of the CSL trailers that were used during the 1920s, pulled along behind other streetcars. Once ridership dropped during the Great Depression, these were used for storage at various CSL yards.

In August 1960, a four-car train of CTA 4000-series cars heads west on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L". Since it appears there are passengers waiting for a Chicago & North Western commuter train on the adjacent embankment, I would say it's possible the location is near Marion Street in suburban Oak Park. The outer 2.5 miles of the Lake route were relocated onto the embankment in October 1962.

In August 1960, a four-car train of CTA 4000-series cars heads west on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L”. Since it appears there are passengers waiting for a Chicago & North Western commuter train on the adjacent embankment, I would say it’s possible the location is near Marion Street in suburban Oak Park. The outer 2.5 miles of the Lake route were relocated onto the embankment in October 1962.

CTA 4295 heads up a train in Oak Park on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L" on August 7, 1954. (Photo by Mark D. Meyer)

CTA 4295 heads up a train in Oak Park on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L” on August 7, 1954. (Photo by Mark D. Meyer)

Two CTA 4000s go up the ramp on Lake Street, just west of Laramie, to rejoin the steel "L" structure east of here on November 30, 1952. (Robert Selle Photo)

Two CTA 4000s go up the ramp on Lake Street, just west of Laramie, to rejoin the steel “L” structure east of here on November 30, 1952. (Robert Selle Photo)

In September 1959, we see a two-car train of CTA 4000s, preparing to head east. I believe the location is Marion Street in Oak Park and not Marengo Avenue in Forest Park as written on the slide mount. Marengo is a short distance west of Harlem, and although Lake Street trains did go there, the buildings in this picture match Marion. We have another picture in this post showing what the area west of Harlem actually looked like. (William Shapotkin Collection)

In September 1959, we see a two-car train of CTA 4000s, preparing to head east. I believe the location is Marion Street in Oak Park and not Marengo Avenue in Forest Park as written on the slide mount. Marengo is a short distance west of Harlem, and although Lake Street trains did go there, the buildings in this picture match Marion. We have another picture in this post showing what the area west of Harlem actually looked like. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Photographer Bob Selle notes: Two-car "L" train (4420 at right) on Lake Street line just west of Harlem Avenue." In the distance, you can see the actual terminal. Not that many people boarded there, compared to the Marion Street station just east of Harlem Avenue. This picture was taken on May 1, 1955.

Photographer Bob Selle notes: Two-car “L” train (4420 at right) on Lake Street line just west of Harlem Avenue.” In the distance, you can see the actual terminal. Not that many people boarded there, compared to the Marion Street station just east of Harlem Avenue. This picture was taken on May 1, 1955.

A close-up of the previous picture, showing some wavy track and the actual station and bumper post (or is it turned-up rail?) at the west end of the Lake Street "L" prior to 1962. Riders could board trains at the station, which was located about two blocks west of Harlem Avenue.

A close-up of the previous picture, showing some wavy track and the actual station and bumper post (or is it turned-up rail?) at the west end of the Lake Street “L” prior to 1962. Riders could board trains at the station, which was located about two blocks west of Harlem Avenue.

CTA one-man car 3125, heading west on Route 16, is turning north from Lake Street onto Pine Street, where Lake takes a jog. In the process, it crosses the ground-level Lake Street "L". This picture was taken on September 26, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA one-man car 3125, heading west on Route 16, is turning north from Lake Street onto Pine Street, where Lake takes a jog. In the process, it crosses the ground-level Lake Street “L”. This picture was taken on September 26, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

A two-car train of 4000s is on the Lake Street "L" during construction of the Northwest (now Kennedy) expressway on February 25, 1958. The new highway opened in 1960. Further south, the Garfield Park "L" also crossed the highway footprint and had to be shored up around the same time this photo was taken. But once the new Congress rapid transit line opened on June 22, 1958 the Garfield line was no longer needed and the structure was removed where it crossed the highway, cutting the line off from the rest of the system. The remaining portions of structure west of there were removed in 1959; east of there, parts remained until 1964. The Lake Street "L", on the other hand, rechristened the Green Line, is still here.

A two-car train of 4000s is on the Lake Street “L” during construction of the Northwest (now Kennedy) expressway on February 25, 1958. The new highway opened in 1960. Further south, the Garfield Park “L” also crossed the highway footprint and had to be shored up around the same time this photo was taken. But once the new Congress rapid transit line opened on June 22, 1958 the Garfield line was no longer needed and the structure was removed where it crossed the highway, cutting the line off from the rest of the system. The remaining portions of structure west of there were removed in 1959; east of there, parts remained until 1964. The Lake Street “L”, on the other hand, rechristened the Green Line, is still here.

In this picture, taken in April 1964, we see the back end of a CTA two-car train of 4000s as they head east at Halsted on the Lake Street "L". By this time, the western portion of the line had been relocated onto the C&NW embankment, and therefore there was no further need to use overhead wire. But the new 2000-series "L" cars had not yet replaced the 4000s in this line, which they would do shortly. This station, built in 1892-93, was closed in 1994 for the Green Line rehabilitation project, but never reopened. It was demolished in 1996 and the new Morgan station, two blocks to the west, more or less replaced it when it opened in 2012.

In this picture, taken in April 1964, we see the back end of a CTA two-car train of 4000s as they head east at Halsted on the Lake Street “L”. By this time, the western portion of the line had been relocated onto the C&NW embankment, and therefore there was no further need to use overhead wire. But the new 2000-series “L” cars had not yet replaced the 4000s in this line, which they would do shortly. This station, built in 1892-93, was closed in 1994 for the Green Line rehabilitation project, but never reopened. It was demolished in 1996 and the new Morgan station, two blocks to the west, more or less replaced it when it opened in 2012.

On August 13, 1964 CTA single-car unit 45 prepares to stop at Isabella station on the Evanston line. The car is signed as an Evanston Express, but I do not think it would have operated downtown as a single car. Therefore, it must be in Evanston shuttle service. (August 13, 1964 was a Thursday, so the Evanston Express was running that day, though.) (Photo by Douglas N. Grotjahn)

On August 13, 1964 CTA single-car unit 45 prepares to stop at Isabella station on the Evanston line. The car is signed as an Evanston Express, but I do not think it would have operated downtown as a single car. Therefore, it must be in Evanston shuttle service. (August 13, 1964 was a Thursday, so the Evanston Express was running that day, though.) (Photo by Douglas N. Grotjahn)

CTA red Pullmans 521 (on Ashland) and 640 (on 63rd Street) meet on May 14, 1953. This was near the end of streetcar service on 63rd. By then, PCC cars had been transferred from 63rd to Cottage Grove. The Curtis restaurant, located in this vicinity but behind the photographer, was a favorite of my parents. It is perhaps no coincidence that I have a brother named Curtis. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA red Pullmans 521 (on Ashland) and 640 (on 63rd Street) meet on May 14, 1953. This was near the end of streetcar service on 63rd. By then, PCC cars had been transferred from 63rd to Cottage Grove. The Curtis restaurant, located in this vicinity but behind the photographer, was a favorite of my parents. It is perhaps no coincidence that I have a brother named Curtis. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA PCC 4095, built by Pullman, has just left the Madison-Austin loop on the west end of Route 20 on June 1, 1953. Buses continue to use this loop today, although it has been somewhat reconfigured. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA PCC 4095, built by Pullman, has just left the Madison-Austin loop on the west end of Route 20 on June 1, 1953. Buses continue to use this loop today, although it has been somewhat reconfigured. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 head up a northbound Evanston Express train passing through the Chicago Avenue station on June 26, 1958. These two cars, which were originally independent but were converted to semi-permanent "married pairs" in the 1950s, are still on CTA property and within a few years will celebrate their centennial. When the last of the 4000-series "L" cars were retired in 1973, these were chosen for preservation as historic cars. They are occasionally used for special events. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 head up a northbound Evanston Express train passing through the Chicago Avenue station on June 26, 1958. These two cars, which were originally independent but were converted to semi-permanent “married pairs” in the 1950s, are still on CTA property and within a few years will celebrate their centennial. When the last of the 4000-series “L” cars were retired in 1973, these were chosen for preservation as historic cars. They are occasionally used for special events. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA red Pullman 270 is on Cicero at North Avenue, where Cicero took a bit of a jog which has since been somewhat straightened out. The date is July 19, 1948. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA red Pullman 270 is on Cicero at North Avenue, where Cicero took a bit of a jog which has since been somewhat straightened out. The date is July 19, 1948. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolleybus 9219 on Route 77 - Belmont, running eastbound at approximately 952 W. Belmont (near Sheffield). The photographer was up on the north-south "L" platform. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolleybus 9219 on Route 77 – Belmont, running eastbound at approximately 952 W. Belmont (near Sheffield). The photographer was up on the north-south “L” platform. (William Shapotkin Collection)

The building in the previous picture is still there. For several years, there was a club on the second floor, first called the Quiet Knight, later on Tut's. I attended many great concerts there in the 1970s and 80s.

The building in the previous picture is still there. For several years, there was a club on the second floor, first called the Quiet Knight, later on Tut’s. I attended many great concerts there in the 1970s and 80s.

Chicago Surface Lines 1775 crosses the Chicago River at Wabash Avenue on May 30, 1945, promoting the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). The nearby State Street bridge was out of service from 1939 to 1949 due to subway construction and wartime materials shortages.

Chicago Surface Lines 1775 crosses the Chicago River at Wabash Avenue on May 30, 1945, promoting the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). The nearby State Street bridge was out of service from 1939 to 1949 due to subway construction and wartime materials shortages.

CSL 1775, decorated to promote the SPARS*, is on 119th one block west of Halsted in August 1943. Car 1775 was chosen for patriotic duty because that was the year the Revolutionary War broke out, with the Battles of Lexington and Concord. *The United States Coast Guard (USCG) Women's Reserve, better known as the SPARS, was the World War II women's branch of the USCG Reserve. It was established by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 23 November 1942.

CSL 1775, decorated to promote the SPARS*, is on 119th one block west of Halsted in August 1943. Car 1775 was chosen for patriotic duty because that was the year the Revolutionary War broke out, with the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
*The United States Coast Guard (USCG) Women’s Reserve, better known as the SPARS, was the World War II women’s branch of the USCG Reserve. It was established by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 23 November 1942.

On August 25, 1946 CSL one-man car 3093 is running outbound on private right-of-way between Morgan and Throop on Route 23, Morgan-Racine-Sangamon.

On August 25, 1946 CSL one-man car 3093 is running outbound on private right-of-way between Morgan and Throop on Route 23, Morgan-Racine-Sangamon.

On May 25, 1958 we see CTA two-man PCCs 7206 and 4390 at 78th and Wentworth (South Shops). Both were products of St. Louis Car Company, as all 310 postwar Pullman PCCs had been scrapped by then for the "PCC conversion program" that used some of their parts in new 6000-series rapid transit cars. In spite of the roll signs shown here, Chicago streetcars were limited to running on a single route between downtown and the south side. The last northside car ran in 1957. (Robert Selle Photo)

On May 25, 1958 we see CTA two-man PCCs 7206 and 4390 at 78th and Wentworth (South Shops). Both were products of St. Louis Car Company, as all 310 postwar Pullman PCCs had been scrapped by then for the “PCC conversion program” that used some of their parts in new 6000-series rapid transit cars. In spite of the roll signs shown here, Chicago streetcars were limited to running on a single route between downtown and the south side. The last northside car ran in 1957. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA PCC 7151, a product of St. Louis Car Company, heads south on Route 49 - Western at North Avenue in 1953. The "L" station behind it was part of the Humboldt Park branch, which was abandoned in 1952. Once the station was closed, signs advertising "L" service were removed although I don't believe this portion of the structure was removed until the early 1960s. Note that riders at this safety island are boarding at the rear, as this is a two-man car.

CTA PCC 7151, a product of St. Louis Car Company, heads south on Route 49 – Western at North Avenue in 1953. The “L” station behind it was part of the Humboldt Park branch, which was abandoned in 1952. Once the station was closed, signs advertising “L” service were removed although I don’t believe this portion of the structure was removed until the early 1960s. Note that riders at this safety island are boarding at the rear, as this is a two-man car.

CTA 4393 is at the 79th and Western loop, south end of Route 49, on July 19, 1954. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA 4393 is at the 79th and Western loop, south end of Route 49, on July 19, 1954. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA PCC 4376 is turning into the loop at 79th and Western, south end of Route 49, on July 19, 1954. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA PCC 4376 is turning into the loop at 79th and Western, south end of Route 49, on July 19, 1954. (Robert Selle Photo)

On May 1, 1955 CERA held a fantrip using 2800-series wooden "L" cars. Here, the train makes a photo stop at DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park, then the western end of the Garfield Park "L". The terminal had been reconfigured in 1953 when CA&E trains stopped running downtown. It would be reconfigured again in 1959. By 1960, the Congress expressway was extended through this area. (Robert Selle Photo)

On May 1, 1955 CERA held a fantrip using 2800-series wooden “L” cars. Here, the train makes a photo stop at DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park, then the western end of the Garfield Park “L”. The terminal had been reconfigured in 1953 when CA&E trains stopped running downtown. It would be reconfigured again in 1959. By 1960, the Congress expressway was extended through this area. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA two-man arch roof car 3189 is southbound on Halsted Street near the Garfield Park "L" overpass, south of Van Buren Street on September 17, 1953. As had previously happened with 63rd Street, PCCs had been taken off this route and replaced by older red cars for the final few months of service. 3189 is on the bridge that would eventually go over the Congress expressway, which was then under construction. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA two-man arch roof car 3189 is southbound on Halsted Street near the Garfield Park “L” overpass, south of Van Buren Street on September 17, 1953. As had previously happened with 63rd Street, PCCs had been taken off this route and replaced by older red cars for the final few months of service. 3189 is on the bridge that would eventually go over the Congress expressway, which was then under construction. (Robert Selle Photo)

Here's what photographer Bob Selle wrote on this negative envelope: ""L" cars fresh from the paint shops, MU-coupled, for trip to South side "L" lines: deck roofer 2912 and steel car 4224 at Quincy and Wells platform. June 14th, 1955."

Here’s what photographer Bob Selle wrote on this negative envelope: “”L” cars fresh from the paint shops, MU-coupled, for trip to South side “L” lines: deck roofer 2912 and steel car 4224 at Quincy and Wells platform. June 14th, 1955.”

CSL 4062 was the first postwar PCC put into service. It was built by Pullman. Here, we see it as delivered at 78th and Vincennes on September 30, 1946. Note the different paint scheme the first cars had in the "standee" windows area.

CSL 4062 was the first postwar PCC put into service. It was built by Pullman. Here, we see it as delivered at 78th and Vincennes on September 30, 1946. Note the different paint scheme the first cars had in the “standee” windows area.

CSL 298 is on Wabash at Cermak on September 14, 1934.

CSL 298 is on Wabash at Cermak on September 14, 1934.

This picture of CTA one-man car 3236, taken on January 14, 1950 shows it crossing Maplewood Avenue on what is obviously an east-west trolley line. John F. Bromley, who sold me this negative, was unsure of the location. Jeff Wien writes, "I would guess that it is at 71st & Maplewood. Bill Hoffman lived all of his life at 6664 S. Maplewood which was a half mile north. Maplewood is a block or two west of Western. Route 67 covered 67th, 69th and 71st as far west as California (2800). Maplewood is around 2600 West. Check out the streets to see if I am correct. The one man cars were used on route 67." Looks like Jeff is correct, as further research shows that the house at left is still standing at 7053 S. Maplewood.

This picture of CTA one-man car 3236, taken on January 14, 1950 shows it crossing Maplewood Avenue on what is obviously an east-west trolley line. John F. Bromley, who sold me this negative, was unsure of the location. Jeff Wien writes, “I would guess that it is at 71st & Maplewood. Bill Hoffman lived all of his life at 6664 S. Maplewood which was a half mile north. Maplewood is a block or two west of Western. Route 67 covered 67th, 69th and 71st as far west as California (2800). Maplewood is around 2600 West. Check out the streets to see if I am correct. The one man cars were used on route 67.” Looks like Jeff is correct, as further research shows that the house at left is still standing at 7053 S. Maplewood.

Photographer Bob Selle writes, "CTA one-man car 6174 eastbound as it crosses Halsted Street on Root Street (43rd Street line), leaving west end of line. August 1, 1953."

Photographer Bob Selle writes, “CTA one-man car 6174 eastbound as it crosses Halsted Street on Root Street (43rd Street line), leaving west end of line. August 1, 1953.”

Photographer Bob Selle writes, "Car 6177 leaving south end of Kedzie barn for Cermak Road, February 14, 1953."

Photographer Bob Selle writes, “Car 6177 leaving south end of Kedzie barn for Cermak Road, February 14, 1953.”

CTA Pullman-built PCC 4084 leaving the Kedzie Station (car barn) on September 13, 1950. The car at right appears to be either a 1949 or 1950 Ford. My father had a 1949 model, and as cars were very much in demand after the end of World War II, the dealer put him on a waiting list. After being on the list for six months, he found that he had actually gone further down the list than he was at the start! So he wrote a letter complaining about this to Henry Ford II, and the next thing you know, they sold him a car. Presumably the PCC is heading out on Route 20 - Madison. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA Pullman-built PCC 4084 leaving the Kedzie Station (car barn) on September 13, 1950. The car at right appears to be either a 1949 or 1950 Ford. My father had a 1949 model, and as cars were very much in demand after the end of World War II, the dealer put him on a waiting list. After being on the list for six months, he found that he had actually gone further down the list than he was at the start! So he wrote a letter complaining about this to Henry Ford II, and the next thing you know, they sold him a car. Presumably the PCC is heading out on Route 20 – Madison. (Robert Selle Photo)

This negative did not come with any identifying information, but it is obviously from a February 12, 1939 fantrip where the fledgling Central Electric Railfans' Association chartered Chicago Rapid Transit Company "L" cars 4317 and 4401 and took them out on parts of the CA&E including the Mount Carmel branch. However, since that line used overhead wire, that's not where this picture was taken. Instead, it appears to be out near the end of the line at Mannheim and 22nd Street on the CRT's lightly used Westchester line, which was built in anticipation of housing being built in this area (which did not come about until the 1950s). South of Roosevelt Road, the line was single-track, which appears to be the case here. If not for the Great Depression, more housing would have been built here. We have previously run two other pictures from the same fantrip, both taken on the Mt. Carmel branch. The CTA substituted bus service for "L" on the Westchester line in 1951 as it did not want to continue paying rent to the CA&E, which had already announced its intentions to truncate passenger service to Forest Park, which meant similar rent payments to the CTA were about to cease.

This negative did not come with any identifying information, but it is obviously from a February 12, 1939 fantrip where the fledgling Central Electric Railfans’ Association chartered Chicago Rapid Transit Company “L” cars 4317 and 4401 and took them out on parts of the CA&E including the Mount Carmel branch. However, since that line used overhead wire, that’s not where this picture was taken. Instead, it appears to be out near the end of the line at Mannheim and 22nd Street on the CRT’s lightly used Westchester line, which was built in anticipation of housing being built in this area (which did not come about until the 1950s). South of Roosevelt Road, the line was single-track, which appears to be the case here. If not for the Great Depression, more housing would have been built here. We have previously run two other pictures from the same fantrip, both taken on the Mt. Carmel branch. The CTA substituted bus service for “L” on the Westchester line in 1951 as it did not want to continue paying rent to the CA&E, which had already announced its intentions to truncate passenger service to Forest Park, which meant similar rent payments to the CTA were about to cease.

CTA PCC 4087 leaves the Kedzie car barn during the morning rush on July 1, 1953 and is signed for the Madison-Fifth branch line. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA PCC 4087 leaves the Kedzie car barn during the morning rush on July 1, 1953 and is signed for the Madison-Fifth branch line. (Robert Selle Photo)

The end is near for CTA 4402 and the other couple dozen or so PCC cars that remained at the end of service. Ultimately, only car 4391, now at the Illinois Railway Museum, was saved. This picture was taken at 77th Street yards on June 15, 1958. (Robert Selle Photo)

The end is near for CTA 4402 and the other couple dozen or so PCC cars that remained at the end of service. Ultimately, only car 4391, now at the Illinois Railway Museum, was saved. This picture was taken at 77th Street yards on June 15, 1958. (Robert Selle Photo)

CSL 5387 is westbound at 63rd and Dorchester, having just gone under the Illinois Central viaduct on June 13, 1947. Even though this neg was lightstruck on the top edge (almost all of which I cropped out), I thought it was an interesting streetscape with the diner and what appears to be some sort of pawn shop or resale shop. The Jackson Park branch of the "L" went over the IC at this point, and has since been cut back.

CSL 5387 is westbound at 63rd and Dorchester, having just gone under the Illinois Central viaduct on June 13, 1947. Even though this neg was lightstruck on the top edge (almost all of which I cropped out), I thought it was an interesting streetscape with the diner and what appears to be some sort of pawn shop or resale shop. The Jackson Park branch of the “L” went over the IC at this point, and has since been cut back.

On August 28, 1955 Illinois Central Electric suburban 1161 and its trailer are crossing Halsted Street at 121st on their way to Blue Island. There was a fantrip that day (hence the fans,), but this was not the fantrip train apparently. (Robert Selle Photo)

On August 28, 1955 Illinois Central Electric suburban 1161 and its trailer are crossing Halsted Street at 121st on their way to Blue Island. There was a fantrip that day (hence the fans,), but this was not the fantrip train apparently. (Robert Selle Photo)

CSL 1872 is on Franklin at Jackson on June 13, 1947.

CSL 1872 is on Franklin at Jackson on June 13, 1947.

CSL red Pullman 293 is at Roosevelt and Wabash on June 13, 1947.

CSL red Pullman 293 is at Roosevelt and Wabash on June 13, 1947.

This Chicago, Aurora & Elgin image is from an original 1950s Kodachrome slide that was not processed by Kodak. I am not quite able to make out the car number, but it looks like it is one of the 420s. The location is downtown Elgin, along the Fox River. The Rialto Theater burned down in 1956.

This Chicago, Aurora & Elgin image is from an original 1950s Kodachrome slide that was not processed by Kodak. I am not quite able to make out the car number, but it looks like it is one of the 420s. The location is downtown Elgin, along the Fox River. The Rialto Theater burned down in 1956.

This picture is somewhat blurred, which makes one wonder why the late Edward Frank, Jr. printed it and sold it. But it does show CSL 1819 and a passing Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train. The curved section of track suggests this may have been taken near the Sacramento curve. That's probably Ed Frank's bicycle in the lower right hand corner.

This picture is somewhat blurred, which makes one wonder why the late Edward Frank, Jr. printed it and sold it. But it does show CSL 1819 and a passing Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train. The curved section of track suggests this may have been taken near the Sacramento curve. That’s probably Ed Frank’s bicycle in the lower right hand corner.

It is not often that individual employees can be identified in an old photo such as this, which shows CA&E express freight car #5 (presumably, the second #5, built by Cincinnati Car Company). But the man at left is Clyde Goodrich, a longtime engineer on the interurban. As far as I know, he was still employed there up to the final 1959 abandonment of service.

It is not often that individual employees can be identified in an old photo such as this, which shows CA&E express freight car #5 (presumably, the second #5, built by Cincinnati Car Company). But the man at left is Clyde Goodrich, a longtime engineer on the interurban. As far as I know, he was still employed there up to the final 1959 abandonment of service.

Clyde B. Goodrich, the man in the left, was born in DeKalb, Illinois on May 17, 1887 and died in Florida on September 1, 1970. His wife's name was Winifred (1882-1955). In 1920, Clyde lived in Aurora and was employed by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. In the 1940 census, he was living in Wheaton and worked as an engineer on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin. Clyde B. Goodrich and his wife are buried in Wheaton Cemetery.

Clyde B. Goodrich, the man in the left, was born in DeKalb, Illinois on May 17, 1887 and died in Florida on September 1, 1970. His wife’s name was Winifred (1882-1955). In 1920, Clyde lived in Aurora and was employed by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. In the 1940 census, he was living in Wheaton and worked as an engineer on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin. Clyde B. Goodrich and his wife are buried in Wheaton Cemetery.

The caption here reads, "North Western and electric lines stations, Wheaton." The CA&E is in the foreground. The photo is not dated, but it must be quite early.

The caption here reads, “North Western and electric lines stations, Wheaton.” The CA&E is in the foreground. The photo is not dated, but it must be quite early.

This photo, dated May 1966, shows the CA&E's Wheaton station being torn down.

This photo, dated May 1966, shows the CA&E’s Wheaton station being torn down.

Demolition is nearly complete in this photo, also dated May 1966.

Demolition is nearly complete in this photo, also dated May 1966.

CA&E wooden interurban car 54. Don's Rail Photos: "54 was built by Stephonsin in 1903. It was modernized in July 1946 and retired in 1959."

CA&E wooden interurban car 54. Don’s Rail Photos: “54 was built by Stephonsin in 1903. It was modernized in July 1946 and retired in 1959.”

CA&E wooden freight motor 9. Don's Rail Photos: "9 was built by Niles Car in 1907. It was scrapped in 1959."

CA&E wooden freight motor 9. Don’s Rail Photos: “9 was built by Niles Car in 1907. It was scrapped in 1959.”

A crane on a CA&E flat car. This appears to be Wheaton Yard.

A crane on a CA&E flat car. This appears to be Wheaton Yard.

North Shore Line car 182 is southbound on the Shore Line Route in North Chicago, Illinois on June 12, 1954. Don's Rail Photos: "182 was built by Cincinnati Car in September 1920, #2455." (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line car 182 is southbound on the Shore Line Route in North Chicago, Illinois on June 12, 1954. Don’s Rail Photos: “182 was built by Cincinnati Car in September 1920, #2455.” (Robert Selle Photo)

While Chicago's Congress expressway (now the Eisenhower) is rightly considered its first, Lake Shore Drive preceded it as an "almost" expressway. Here. we see construction taking place on December 13, 1940. Until the early 1970s, LSD had lanes that could be reversed in rush hour by raising and lowering these short barriers. Unfortunately, this resulted in a number of head-on collisions, and these were eventually deactivated. The photo caption reads, "Workmen install line of elevating curbs in new express highway on Chicago's lake front. The curbs, placed two lanes apart on the eight lane roadway, give extra lanes to rush hour traffic to ease traffic flow. The elevating jacks shown raise the curb to height of nine inches, exert pressure of 12 tons. The retracting springs, having a 10-ton pressure, pull the curbs down when the hydraulic jacks are released. The entire curb system is operated from one central control station." (Photo by Acme)

While Chicago’s Congress expressway (now the Eisenhower) is rightly considered its first, Lake Shore Drive preceded it as an “almost” expressway. Here. we see construction taking place on December 13, 1940. Until the early 1970s, LSD had lanes that could be reversed in rush hour by raising and lowering these short barriers. Unfortunately, this resulted in a number of head-on collisions, and these were eventually deactivated. The photo caption reads, “Workmen install line of elevating curbs in new express highway on Chicago’s lake front. The curbs, placed two lanes apart on the eight lane roadway, give extra lanes to rush hour traffic to ease traffic flow. The elevating jacks shown raise the curb to height of nine inches, exert pressure of 12 tons. The retracting springs, having a 10-ton pressure, pull the curbs down when the hydraulic jacks are released. The entire curb system is operated from one central control station.” (Photo by Acme)

Chicago’s Loop in 1959

The following ten images are part of a larger batch we recently purchased. Several of the others show various downtown movie theaters (including the Clark and Garrick) and will be posted in the near future on our “sister” Clark Theater blog. By studying the various films that were playing, I have determined these pictures were taken during the summer of 1959.

Here's a rather unique view showing the front of the old Wells Street Terminal, or what was left of it anyway, as it appeared in 1959. This terminal was last used by the CA&E in 1953. Two years later, the upper portion of the attractive facade was removed and a new track connection was built so that Garfield Park trains could connect to the Loop "L". A new connection was needed, since the old one had to give way to construction on Wacker Drive. The remainder of the terminal, and the track connection, were no longer needed after the Congress rapid transit line replaced the Garfield Park "L" in 1958, and they were removed in 1964. Note there is a barber shop occupying part of the building.

Here’s a rather unique view showing the front of the old Wells Street Terminal, or what was left of it anyway, as it appeared in 1959. This terminal was last used by the CA&E in 1953. Two years later, the upper portion of the attractive facade was removed and a new track connection was built so that Garfield Park trains could connect to the Loop “L”. A new connection was needed, since the old one had to give way to construction on Wacker Drive. The remainder of the terminal, and the track connection, were no longer needed after the Congress rapid transit line replaced the Garfield Park “L” in 1958, and they were removed in 1964. Note there is a barber shop occupying part of the building.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s, running on the Lake Street "L", are at Wabash and Van Buren on the Loop. In the background, you can see the Auditorium Theater building.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s, running on the Lake Street “L”, are at Wabash and Van Buren on the Loop. In the background, you can see the Auditorium Theater building.

The old Epicurean restaurant, at left, was located at 316 S. Wabash and served Hugarian cuisine. A CTA Lake Street train rumbles by above.

The old Epicurean restaurant, at left, was located at 316 S. Wabash and served Hugarian cuisine. A CTA Lake Street train rumbles by above.

A street sign is just barely visible in this photo taken under the Loop "L", identifying the cross street as Dearborn. Since that is one way southbound downtown, and the arrow is pointing to the right, that implies we are in Lake Street and are looking to the east.

A street sign is just barely visible in this photo taken under the Loop “L”, identifying the cross street as Dearborn. Since that is one way southbound downtown, and the arrow is pointing to the right, that implies we are in Lake Street and are looking to the east.

The old Metropolitan "L" crossed the Chicago River just south of Union Station (just visible at left) and had four tracks, necessitating two bridges. After these tracks were taken out of service in June 1958, the bridges were permanently raised, and razed in 1964.

The old Metropolitan “L” crossed the Chicago River just south of Union Station (just visible at left) and had four tracks, necessitating two bridges. After these tracks were taken out of service in June 1958, the bridges were permanently raised, and razed in 1964.

Another view of the same two Met "L" bridges in 1959.

Another view of the same two Met “L” bridges in 1959.

Another photo of the two Met "L" bridges.

Another photo of the two Met “L” bridges.

It's not clear where this picture was taken. The two wires that cross the trolley bus wires are, I am told, "feeder span hangers." The last Chicago trolley bus ran in 1973. The CTA currently has two electric buses that run on batteries, and has just placed an order for 20 more.

It’s not clear where this picture was taken. The two wires that cross the trolley bus wires are, I am told, “feeder span hangers.” The last Chicago trolley bus ran in 1973. The CTA currently has two electric buses that run on batteries, and has just placed an order for 20 more.

Another view of the Loop "L" on south Wabash, probably taken near the locations if the other similar photos showing Lake Street trains.

Another view of the Loop “L” on south Wabash, probably taken near the locations if the other similar photos showing Lake Street trains.

This photo shows what State Street, that great street, looked like during the summer of 1959. We are looking north from about 400 S. State. The Goldblatt's department store is at right, and that's a CTA #36 bus heading south. Streetcar tracks on State have either been removed, or paved over. Note the "grasshopper" style street lights that were installed in 1959.

This photo shows what State Street, that great street, looked like during the summer of 1959. We are looking north from about 400 S. State. The Goldblatt’s department store is at right, and that’s a CTA #36 bus heading south. Streetcar tracks on State have either been removed, or paved over. Note the “grasshopper” style street lights that were installed in 1959.

FYI, here is another view from the same location, taken after streetcar tracks were removed, but before the 1959 installation of those unique street lights:

(See attribution information for this photo via the link provided above.)

Miscellaneous New Finds

This photo purports to show the actual last run on Milwaukee's ill-fated Speedrail interurban on June 30, 1951. However, according to Larry Sakar, author of Speedrail: Milwaukee's Last Rapid Transit?, "The last run to Waukesha which left Milwaukee at a little after 8:00 pm and returned to Milwaukee at 10:08 pm, 2 minutes ahead of schedule, was handled by duplex 37-38. The final round trip to Hales Corners was handled by curved side car 63, not 66. 66 did run on the last day, but it was by no means the final run." Chances are this photo was at least taken on the last day. The line could not survive the repercussions of a terrible head-on collision in 1950, and Milwaukee area officials wanted to use the interurban's right-of-way, which it did not own, for a new highway. Don's Rail Photos: "66 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as Dayton & Troy Ry 203. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to Lehigh Valley Transit as 1102. In 1949 it was sold to Speedrail, but was not rehabilitated until March 1951. But it only ran for 3 months before the line was abandoned and then scrapped in 1952." (Photo by George Harris)

This photo purports to show the actual last run on Milwaukee’s ill-fated Speedrail interurban on June 30, 1951. However, according to Larry Sakar, author of Speedrail: Milwaukee’s Last Rapid Transit?, “The last run to Waukesha which left Milwaukee at a little after 8:00 pm and returned to Milwaukee at 10:08 pm, 2 minutes ahead of schedule, was handled by duplex 37-38. The final round trip to Hales Corners was handled by curved side car 63, not 66. 66 did run on the last day, but it was by no means the final run.” Chances are this photo was at least taken on the last day. The line could not survive the repercussions of a terrible head-on collision in 1950, and Milwaukee area officials wanted to use the interurban’s right-of-way, which it did not own, for a new highway. Don’s Rail Photos: “66 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as Dayton & Troy Ry 203. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to Lehigh Valley Transit as 1102. In 1949 it was sold to Speedrail, but was not rehabilitated until March 1951. But it only ran for 3 months before the line was abandoned and then scrapped in 1952.” (Photo by George Harris)

Early Kodachrome images such as this are rare. Here, we see a San Francisco cable car (signed for Powell and Mason) in operation during the summer of 1945. When this picture was taken, the war in Europe had ended, but the US was still fighting Japan. According to the Cable Car Museum web site, this car is currently in service as #3: "Built by the Carter Bros. of Newark, California during 1893-1894 for the Market Street Railway's Sacramento-Clay cable car line. The United Railroads transferred it to the Powell Street cable car lines in 1907, after the Earthquake and Fire of 1906. Until 1973, numbered as No. 503. No. 3 is painted in Muni's green and cream paint scheme, which is based on the green and white scheme of the Muni's former rival between 1921-1944, the Market Street Railway. This was the basic paint scheme for Powell Street cable cars from 1947 to 1982. Extensive rebuilding, by Muni 1955."

Early Kodachrome images such as this are rare. Here, we see a San Francisco cable car (signed for Powell and Mason) in operation during the summer of 1945. When this picture was taken, the war in Europe had ended, but the US was still fighting Japan. According to the Cable Car Museum web site, this car is currently in service as #3: “Built by the Carter Bros. of Newark, California during 1893-1894 for the Market Street Railway’s Sacramento-Clay cable car line. The United Railroads transferred it to the Powell Street cable car lines in 1907, after the Earthquake and Fire of 1906. Until 1973, numbered as No. 503. No. 3 is painted in Muni’s green and cream paint scheme, which is based on the green and white scheme of the Muni’s former rival between 1921-1944, the Market Street Railway. This was the basic paint scheme for Powell Street cable cars from 1947 to 1982. Extensive rebuilding, by Muni 1955.”

PTC "Peter Witt" 8057 was built by Brill in 1923. Here it is seen on Route 34 in the 1950s. Michael T. Greene writes: "The picture of the Route 34 Peter Witt was taken at 38th and Locust Streets, on what’s now the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. (An alum now resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, in Washington, but enough of that!). The trolley is using detour trackage onto Locust Street EB, as part of the subway-surface extension of the 1950’s…westbound trackage continued on Locust to 40th Street, where it hung a left turn. Today, 38th Street has been widened to a 2-way street, but still with a trolley track, used as a diversion route for subway-surface Routes 11, 13, 34, and 36. Locust Street was been turned into a pedestrian walkway, and a pedestrian bridge goes over 38th Street these days."

PTC “Peter Witt” 8057 was built by Brill in 1923. Here it is seen on Route 34 in the 1950s. Michael T. Greene writes: “The picture of the Route 34 Peter Witt was taken at 38th and Locust Streets, on what’s now the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. (An alum now resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, in Washington, but enough of that!). The trolley is using detour trackage onto Locust Street EB, as part of the subway-surface extension of the 1950’s…westbound trackage continued on Locust to 40th Street, where it hung a left turn. Today, 38th Street has been widened to a 2-way street, but still with a trolley track, used as a diversion route for subway-surface Routes 11, 13, 34, and 36. Locust Street was been turned into a pedestrian walkway, and a pedestrian bridge goes over 38th Street these days.”

Philadelphia Transportation Company 7266 is on Route 9, sometime in the 1950s during street construction. Micheal T. Greene writes: "The Route 9 car is on 5th Street south of Market Street. At this time, 5th Street was being widened as part of Independence Mall. Independence Hall is out of this picture to the right."

Philadelphia Transportation Company 7266 is on Route 9, sometime in the 1950s during street construction. Micheal T. Greene writes: “The Route 9 car is on 5th Street south of Market Street. At this time, 5th Street was being widened as part of Independence Mall. Independence Hall is out of this picture to the right.”

Indianapolis Railways "Peter Witt" car 181, also known as a "Master Unit," a Brill trademark, is signed for College-Broad Ripple on April 16, 1952. This car was built in March 1934 and was one of the last streetcar orders filled before the PCC era. (Robert Selle Photo)

Indianapolis Railways “Peter Witt” car 181, also known as a “Master Unit,” a Brill trademark, is signed for College-Broad Ripple on April 16, 1952. This car was built in March 1934 and was one of the last streetcar orders filled before the PCC era. (Robert Selle Photo)

Indianapolis Railways 155 was built by Brill in September 1933. On May 21, 1950 it is at the east end of the Washington Street line on a fantrip.

Indianapolis Railways 155 was built by Brill in September 1933. On May 21, 1950 it is at the east end of the Washington Street line on a fantrip.

On August23, 1946, photographer Walter Hulseweder snapped this picture of Indianapolis Railways 131 on Washington Street at Illinois Avenue on the Washington-Sheridan line.

On August23, 1946, photographer Walter Hulseweder snapped this picture of Indianapolis Railways 131 on Washington Street at Illinois Avenue on the Washington-Sheridan line.

By strange coincidence, this photo showing a Rock Island Motor Transit Company bus was taken in June 21, 1958. Bill shapotkin adds, "The photo was taken at the joint CGW/Greyhound/Jefferson bus station in Rochester, MN. This bus provided connections from/to ROCK trains at Owatonna, MN." (William Shapotkin Collection)

By strange coincidence, this photo showing a Rock Island Motor Transit Company bus was taken in June 21, 1958. Bill shapotkin adds, “The photo was taken at the joint CGW/Greyhound/Jefferson bus station in Rochester, MN. This bus provided connections from/to ROCK trains at Owatonna, MN.” (William Shapotkin Collection)

Mystery Photo

This picture, which could be as old as the 1930s, was listed by the seller as being Chicago. However, I have my doubts, as I am unable to think of a location this could be around here, or what the construction project might be. The sign says "Detour to temporary bridge." Jeff Wien thinks this might be Philadelphia.

This picture, which could be as old as the 1930s, was listed by the seller as being Chicago. However, I have my doubts, as I am unable to think of a location this could be around here, or what the construction project might be. The sign says “Detour to temporary bridge.” Jeff Wien thinks this might be Philadelphia.

Updates

We’ve added another image to our previous post The Fairmount Park Trolley (November 7. 2017), which includes an extensive section about the Five Mile Beach Electric Railway in Wildwood, New Jersey:

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 36 at Warehouse Point, Connecticut on August 16, 1952.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 36 at Warehouse Point, Connecticut on August 16, 1952.

These photos were added to our previous post Red Arrow in West Chester (September 13, 2016):

A SEPTA commuter train, ex-PRR, at West Chester in May 1979. SEPTA rail service to this station ended in 1986, but the West Chester Railroad began running a not-for-profit tourist operation of train service on weekends between West Chester and Glen Mills in 1997. (Photo by Paul Kutta)

A SEPTA commuter train, ex-PRR, at West Chester in May 1979. SEPTA rail service to this station ended in 1986, but the West Chester Railroad began running a not-for-profit tourist operation of train service on weekends between West Chester and Glen Mills in 1997. (Photo by Paul Kutta)

Red Arrow "Master Unit" 79 is inbound in 1949 on either the Media or Sharon Hill line, in spite of the sign saying Ardmore (thanks to Kenneth Achtert for that correction). He adds, "It was (still is) standard practice for Red Arrow operators, when changing ends at the outer end of their route, to set the sign on what would be the rear of the car for the inbound trip to read their next outbound destination. Thus, when the car arrived at 69th St. Terminal and went around the loop to the boarding platform the rear destination sign was already set. This was actually the more important sign, as most passengers approached the cars from the rear coming from the main terminal (and from the Market-Frankford Elevated line)." (Mark D. Meyer Photo)

Red Arrow “Master Unit” 79 is inbound in 1949 on either the Media or Sharon Hill line, in spite of the sign saying Ardmore (thanks to Kenneth Achtert for that correction). He adds, “It was (still is) standard practice for Red Arrow operators, when changing ends at the outer end of their route, to set the sign on what would be the rear of the car for the inbound trip to read their next outbound destination. Thus, when the car arrived at 69th St. Terminal and went around the loop to the boarding platform the rear destination sign was already set. This was actually the more important sign, as most passengers approached the cars from the rear coming from the main terminal (and from the Market-Frankford Elevated line).” (Mark D. Meyer Photo)

Red Arrow "Master Unit" 82 is at the 69th Street Terminal on August 8, 1948. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Red Arrow “Master Unit” 82 is at the 69th Street Terminal on August 8, 1948. (Walter Broschart Photo)

On September 12, 1959, Philadelphia Suburban Transportation 3, a 1941 "Brilliner," is on Lippincott Avenue north of County Line Road, on the short Ardmore line which was bussed in 1966.

On September 12, 1959, Philadelphia Suburban Transportation 3, a 1941 “Brilliner,” is on Lippincott Avenue north of County Line Road, on the short Ardmore line which was bussed in 1966.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka "Red Arrow") cars 5 and 14 pose at 69th Street Terminal on June 22, 1963. The car at left is a Brilliner, from the last batch of trolleys built by Brill in 1941. The car at right was built by the St. Louis Car Company in 949. Although it looks much like a PCC, it was not considered such as it had standard interurban trucks and motors. Both types of cars were double-ended.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka “Red Arrow”) cars 5 and 14 pose at 69th Street Terminal on June 22, 1963. The car at left is a Brilliner, from the last batch of trolleys built by Brill in 1941. The car at right was built by the St. Louis Car Company in 949. Although it looks much like a PCC, it was not considered such as it had standard interurban trucks and motors. Both types of cars were double-ended.

We’ve added this image to our extensive section about the Fort Collins (Colorado) Birney car operation in Our 150th Post (August 6, 2016):

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

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

Recent Correspondence

Our resident South Side expert M. E. writes:

Your latest post has a bunch of good stuff.

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Interesting that you think this picture might be of your mother and you. In the book “In Search of Steam” by Joe Collias (which I do not have), there is a picture taken at Englewood Union Station of a young boy, bundled in winter clothing, watching a New York Central steam engine come into the station. I’d swear that young boy is me.

The movie of the last PCC streetcar almost made me cry. My last ride on a Chicago streetcar occurred in early June when my high-school best friend and I rode one car from 81st and Halsted to 63rd and Wentworth, then another car ack to 81st and Halsted. Also: Probably less than a week after the last streetcar ran, I graduated high school. So this time frame is especially meaningful to me. (Please don’t publish this, it’s just for your information.)

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In this photo, did you notice the swell “woodie” station wagon?

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Your text beneath this picture fascinates me. You say your parents frequented the Curtis restaurant at 63rd and Ashland. Does that mean you grew up around there? I grew up a mile east of this junction.

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The text under this picture says the South Shops was at 78th and Wentworth. Not so. South Shops was at 77th and Vincennes on the east side of Vincennes. And the land it occupied was huge — from 77th and Vincennes east to about Perry (a block west of State St.) and south to 79th. I haven’t been there in a long time, but maybe the CTA still has all that land.

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I’d have to agree that this car is on 71st St. west of Western. Because you say 7053 S. Maplewood is at the left, I contend the streetcar is heading west to 71st and California. One small nit: The caption says “Bill Hoffmann lived all of his life at 6664 S. Maplewood.” Unless there was an extra-long block between 66th and
67th (Marquette Blvd.) on Maplewood, the address would have to be 6654. Normally there are 60 addresses to a block, from 00 to 59.

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This is an interesting picture. As the caption indicates, the car had just left the west end of its line. That west end was west of Halsted between two buildings. It was a dead end, providing only a switch from westbound to eastbound track. Also: You previously published a photo taken here, on Halsted St. south of Root, looking north. In that photo was a 44 Wallace-Racine car turning from west on Root to south on Halsted. (In this current photo you can see the trackage for this turn.) Also in that previous photo was the Halsted St. station of the Stock Yards L.

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This is your mystery photo. I agree that this can’t be a Chicago
scene, for the reason that I know of no elevated trackage in Chicago that was so low to the ground. Also, the elevated train does not look like any Chicago L train I remember.

M E

Thanks very much for your interesting observations!

I don’t think that the woman and boy actually are me, but they certainly resemble us in 1958. My mother dressed like that all the time, and the kid is about my age.

We lived on the west side, in Mont Clare. My mother’s parents lived in Englewood and that’s where she was living when my parents met. So naturally, they frequented restaurants in the neighborhood.

63rd and Ashland was bustling back then.

The June 18, 1958 Southtown Economist gives Dorothy Hoffman’s address as 6622 S. Maplewood.  I believe Bill Hoffman lived with his sister, so perhaps that is the correct address.

If you think 63rd and Ashland was busy, you should have seen 63rd and Halsted, which was the heart of Englewood. Somewhere I once read that 63rd and Halsted was the busiest commercial district in Chicago outside the Loop. It was a great place to grow up because there were three streetcar lines (8, 42, 63), the Englewood L (which I could see from our building), and railroad stations east on 63rd at Wallace and La Salle.

Good point! People tend to forget these things, as certain areas of the city became depopulated to some extent, and urban renewal leveled entire blocks.

We’ll let Jeff Wien have the last word:

Streetcars, streetcars, streetcars. They seem to be popping up all over the country. And who would have thought 60 years ago that there would be such a renaissance! I was called a trolley jolly because I favored streetcars. The Millenials like them.

Pre-Order Building Chicago’s Subways

Bibliographic information:

Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages

Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960

Building Chicago’s Subways will be published on October 1, 2018. Order your copy today, and it will be shipped on or about that date. All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 214th 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 414,000 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.

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

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.

Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

Holiday Spirit

Here's Eric Bronsky's 2017 holiday card. Alluding to some Comments that were made about a different picture in our last post (Reader Showcase, 12-11-2017), we are certain that this image of the new Chicago Transit Authority "L" station at Washington and Wabash has been worked over in Photoshop. But such is our desire to see North Shore Line trains running again, that we freely admit we believe it must be true!*

Here’s Eric Bronsky’s 2017 holiday card. Alluding to some Comments that were made about a different picture in our last post (Reader Showcase, 12-11-2017), we are certain that this image of the new Chicago Transit Authority “L” station at Washington and Wabash has been worked over in Photoshop. But such is our desire to see North Shore Line trains running again, that we freely admit we believe it must be true!*

Christmas Eve is here once again, and we’re sharing some holiday joy from our readers. Thanks to everyone who let us use their pictures. Whatever your beliefs, we hope for a joyous holiday season for all.

-David Sadowski

From John F. Bromley:

From Kenneth Gear:

From Alan Wickens:

Alan Wickens produces a monthly magazine about Wellington, New Zealand’s (now former) trolleybus system. This was the November ‘special’ to mark the very last day of trolleybus operation there. Click this link to read it.

From Bob Carroll:

Pittsburgh, 1975.

Pittsburgh, 1975.

From Charles Seims:

Jack Bejna writes:

Here’s an early Xmas present for the blog. My favorite CA&E cars are by far the original several orders of woodies, especially before they lost their original window configuration. It’s too bad we didn’t have modern cameras to capture these wooden beauties in all their original configuration. Merry Christmas and a great New Year as well.

And I know I join our readers in wishing the same to you as well, thanks!

CA&E 12 was built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 12 was built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 14, built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 14, built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 24, built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 24, built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 26, built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 26, built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 30, built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 30, built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 34, built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 34, built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 46, built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 46, built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 48 as new. It was built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 48 as new. It was built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 54 was built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 54 was built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 103, a trailer, was built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 103, a trailer, was built by Stephenson in 1902.

Recent Finds

Here are three Red Border Kodachrome slides we recently acquired, plus one circular:

A train of CTA 4000s prepares to head east at DesPlaines Avenue, west end of the Garfield Park "L", on May 26, 1956.

A train of CTA 4000s prepares to head east at DesPlaines Avenue, west end of the Garfield Park “L”, on May 26, 1956.

A two-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train loops at DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park on May 26, 1956, while a CTA Route 17 bus waits in the background. That was the replacement service for the Westchester branch of the "L", which uit in 1951.

A two-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train loops at DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park on May 26, 1956, while a CTA Route 17 bus waits in the background. That was the replacement service for the Westchester branch of the “L”, which uit in 1951.

On July 4, 1953, we are looking north from the stairway to the CTA's "L" station at State and Van Buren. Streetcars are still running on State Street, via tracks laid in concrete about ten years before when the State Street subway was built. The nearby subway entrances are in their original configuration. State did not get those "preying mantis" street lights until 1959.

On July 4, 1953, we are looking north from the stairway to the CTA’s “L” station at State and Van Buren. Streetcars are still running on State Street, via tracks laid in concrete about ten years before when the State Street subway was built. The nearby subway entrances are in their original configuration. State did not get those “preying mantis” street lights until 1959.

Unfortunately, one tour that you can't take via interurban any longer...

Unfortunately, one tour that you can’t take via interurban any longer…

Santa Is Coming…

The Santa Maria Valley Railroad, that is, in vintage 1959 recordings prepared for the Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, Wisconsin, but previously unissued, now digitally remastered for your enjoyment on compact disc:

From the introduction to the record:

This is Pete Brett. What you are about to hear is a recording of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad in 1959. Engine number 21, Mikado type, 2-8-2, oil burning.

Regular service in 1959, on the Santa Maria Valley, freight only. My recording depicts a composite of different recordings, of different operations. Our train switches in Santa Maria, some switching operation at the John Inglis Frozen Food Company, just outside Santa Maria, which we’ll hear some sounds of mechanical reefers, along with whistles.

Some on-line recordings, as the train proceeds to Betteravia Junction. There, some of the cars are cut out, the engine backs up to Betteravaia, switches, drops off some cars, picks some up, goes back to Betteravia Junction, picks up the rest of the train; we proceed on to Guadalupe, and our junction with the Southern Pacific. There, some switching operations, as some cars are dropped off, others picked up. Later on, the train returns to Betteravaia Junction. Once again, the train splits in two, part of it going to Betteravia, the switching operation there, the train then proceeding on to Santa Maria.

Santa Maria Valley Railroad, 1959.

The remainder of the CD includes 14 additional steam railroad tracks recorded by William A. Steventon, for use in a presentation he gave, demonstrating various types of sounds involved in basic railroad operations.

Total Time: 70:26

A History of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad

From the railroad’s website:

The Santa Maria Valley Railroad (SMVRR.com) has a rich and interesting history, and can be credited, at least in large part, with the Santa Maria Valley becoming an economic powerhouse by building up primarily the agricultural and industrial segments of its economy.

The Santa Maria Valley Railroad commenced construction on July 11, 1911 by an English oil syndicate to haul oil and asphalt from Roadamite to Guadalupe. The SMVRR reached Santa Maria on October 7, 1911 and was completed to Roadamite on November 5, 1911. The SMVRR took over switching operations for Union Sugar Plant. The railroad was initially successful but in the 1920s the sugar plant closed and the railroad drifted into bankruptcy in 1925.

Captain G. Allan Hancock purchased the railroad in 1925 in a bankruptcy auction on the steps of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse and proceeded to build many industries which complemented the railroad. Captain Hancock built a state of the art, fully-equipped engine house to maintain his locomotives and equipment. He invested heavily in the railroad, installing new ties and new rail, and buying locomotives. Captain Hancock developed agriculture in the Santa Maria Valley, introducing new irrigation methods, and invested heavily in packing sheds, an ice plant, and Rosemary Farms. By the mid 1930s the SMVRR was hauling many carloads of sugar beets to the Union Sugar Plant in Betteravia, and crude oil and vegetables out of the valley. The SMVRR was one of the busiest shortline railroads on the west, hauling over 20,000 carloads per year.

At the start of World War II, the SMVRR purchased the old Pacific Coast (narrow gauge) Railroad right-of-way to the Airbase, now the location of the Santa Maria Airport. The Airbase Branch is actually the oldest railroad right-of-way on the SMVRR system, originally constructed in April 1882. In fact, the Airbase Branch is the only Pacific Coast right-of-way still in operation as a railroad.

Roadamite ceased operations in the late 1940s and the line was abandoned from Sisquoc to Roadamite in 1949. The last major track construction was in 1950 when the Battles Branch was built to service a refinery.

The SMVRR was one of the last railroads on the West Coast to run main line steam locomotives. On February 24, 1962, the last run of steam engine 21, with Captain Hancock at the throttle and Walt Disney in the cab, occurred. The SMVRR had purchased its first diesel-electric locomotives, the GE 70-tonners, in 1948. The GE 70-tonners proved to be excellent work horses for the SMVRR and they eventually displaced the steam locomotives.

Captain Hancock passed away in 1965. Two Hancock family trusts took over the SMVRR: the Marian Mullen Trust, controlled by Hancock’s third wife Marian Hancock; and the Rosemary Trust, the descendants of Rosemary, Hancock’s only daughter. Through the years many of the loose carload merchandise business went to trucking and by the late 1970s the fresh vegetable market was gone. Oil produced in the valley eventually left the rails. In August 1993, Holly Sugar closed down the sugar plant in Betteravia. This resulted in the loss of 90% of the railroad’s remaining traffic. The Hancock Trusts eventually concentrated on their more lucrative real estate holdings and the railroad continued to lose its customer base.

The Rosemary Trust took complete control of the railroad in 1999 and worked to turn the fortunes around for the railroad. An intense marketing campaign brought some new customers aboard. The railroad divested its right-of-way east of Highway 101 in Santa Maria and the main line trackage was reduced to 14 miles.

In October 2006 the SMVRR was purchased by the Coast Belle Rail Corporation from the descendants of the Hancock family, ending more than 80 years of control by the Hancock Family. New ownership embarked on a daunting task of rebuilding the line and rebuilding the customer base. To raise public and customer awareness and to raise much needed capital, the SMVRR hosted special events and dinner excursions.

On November 9, 2006 the SMVRR chartered the private car Silver Lariat for a freight customer appreciation excursion. That night was the first public excursion since 1962. On December 9, 2006 the SMVRR held its first ever public open house, the first of several events to reintroduce the public to the railroad. On the weekend of April 5, 2008 the former SMVRR Railbus No. 9 made a cameo appearance during a Motorcar Operators West excursion.

In September 2008 the SMVRR moved its yard and office facilities out of downtown Santa Maria and relocated at the former sugar plant in Betteravia. The new location offers full transload services with team track, dock track and ramp track as well as many acres of on-ground storage.

In July 2016, the SMVRR Headquarters relocates to its new Osburn Yard.

Today, history continues to be made. The past two years were the busiest since the sugar beet plant closed in 1993. New customers have come on board as well as current customers increasing their carloadings. The SMVRR is now a full-service shortline railroad company, performing contract switching, contract track repairs and inspections, and car repairs.

Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad

The Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad (Friends-SMVRR.org) was formed in 2007 to preserve the history of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad and to educate its members on the current railroad industry. Tours and lectures cover the current railroad business, railroad safety, as well as the history of the railroad.

On May 13, 2017, the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum opened an exhibit entitled, “Two Centuries…One Dream”, the story of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad.

Here are some pictures taken on the occasion of the last steam operation on the Santa Maria Valley on February 24, 1962. I would expect that the “Ward” in one picture was Ward Kimball (1914-2002), one of Disney’s “Nine Old Men”:

A dream that fortunately did not come true: CHICAGO'S LOOP ELEVATED TRACKS TO GO January 4, 1974 - This is a view looking south of the Elevated tracks of Chicago's CTA system on Wabash Avenue. This section along with other portions that formed "The Loop" is scheduled to be taken down sometime in the future with the building of a subway that is to take its place.

A dream that fortunately did not come true:

CHICAGO’S LOOP ELEVATED TRACKS TO GO
January 4, 1974 – This is a view looking south of the Elevated tracks of Chicago’s CTA system on Wabash Avenue. This section along with other portions that formed “The Loop” is scheduled to be taken down sometime in the future with the building of a subway that is to take its place.

*Here’s the original message Eric sent out with his card:

40 years ago, who would have imagined that Chicago’s Loop ‘L,’ long reviled as an eyesore and a deterrent to urban revitalization, would one day be viewed as an iconic landmark? The turnaround began soon after the city axed a harebrained scheme to tear down the ‘L’ and replace it with a single subway route under Franklin Street. Property values adjacent to the structure have since risen, and in mild weather you can even dine at a sidewalk café in the shadow of the ‘L’ (Mort’s Deli once offered “‘L’-egant dining under the cars”).

To date, the 120-year-old Loop ‘L’ structure has been restored and all except two of the aging stations have been renovated or replaced. Most recently, Washington/Wabash, a completely new and accessible ‘L’ station with wide platforms beneath a striking glass-and-steel canopy with LED lighting replaced two historic but obsolete stations at Randolph and Madison Streets.

In the spirit of CTA’s annual Holiday Train and Elves’ Workshop Train, and also the “Heritage Fleet,” we digitally enhanced the new Washington/Wabash station with some red-and-green stuff. The North Shore train is grafted from an original photo by William E. Robertson. The elf (someone you know?) is waiting for the train to Santa’s workshop. You might need to enlarge the image to spot some of the other oddities. It’s sort of like a “What’s wrong with this picture” … or should we say, “What’s right with this picture?”

— Eric

Chicago Trolleys

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

Check out our new book Chicago Trolleys. Signed copies are available through our Online Store.

HOLIDAY SPECIAL! This book makes an excellent gift. For a limited time only, we have reduced the price to just $17.99 plus shipping. That’s $4.00 off the regular price.

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 203rd 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 351,000 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.

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

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.

Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

Faded Love

CSL/CTA 4021, the only prewar Chicago car that survives, at the Illinois Railway Museum in 2002. (John Marton Photo)

CSL/CTA 4021, the only prewar Chicago car that survives, at the Illinois Railway Museum in 2002. (John Marton Photo)

I was going through my things the other day, and came across some images that were given to me a few years ago by the late John Marton. It’s hard to believe that he’s been gone for two-and-a-half years now.

Anyhow, mostly these are rare color images showing experimental paint schemes tried out by the Chicago Surface Lines on six of their prewar PCCs in late 1945 and early 1946. This helped CSL determine the eventual colors (Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange) used on the 600 postwar PPCCs that were put into service starting in September 1946.

Unfortunately, these images were not of sufficient quality to merit inclusion in Central Electric Railfans’ Association Bulletin 146, Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958. There are reasons for that.

The pictures were originally taken by John Marton’s uncle. Somehow, John ended up with color prints that had a textured finish. I assume these were made from color negatives. The prints were later damaged in a basement flood. Eventually, John had slides made from the prints.

Although not of the greatest quality, these photos do have historical importance as possibly the only surviving color still pictures taken of the cars in these experimental colors. Fortunately, the late Bill Hoffman took color films, and these are included in the Chicago Streetcar Memories DVD that comes with each copy of B-146.

Fortunately, the St. Petersburg Tram Collection includes highly detailed, very accurate scale models of nearly all the various paint schemes and door configurations for the Chicago PCCs (I say nearly all, since there was one postwar car (4132) that had a unique roof treatment and has not so far been modeled. We have a color photo of that car in our post More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Three from October 7, 2015.)

Canadian railfan John F. Bromley owns all six models of the experimental PCCs, and generously provided us with pictures for use in B-146.

Here are reference pictures of models showing the various colors that Chicago PCCs, both prewar and postwar, were decorated in. That should provide you with a frame of reference for the Marton photos that follow.

We present those in tribute to John Marton, a good man who is unfortunately gone, but is certainly not forgotten by those who knew him.

-David Sadowski

PS- These faded old color photos remind me of a song by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys:

Faded Love

As I look at the letters that you wrote to me
It’s you that I am thinking of
As I read the lines that to me were so sweet
I remember our faded love

I miss you darling more and more every day
As heaven would miss the stars above
With every heartbeat I still think of you
And remember our faded love

As I think of the past and all the pleasures we had
As I watch the mating of the dove
It was in the springtime when you said goodbye
I remember our faded love

I miss you darling more and more every day
As heaven would miss the stars above
With every heartbeat I still think of you
And remember our faded love


CSL 4021 in the standard prewar paint scheme.

CSL 4021 in the standard prewar paint scheme.

Chicago Surface Lines 1940-41 experimental door configuration.

Chicago Surface Lines 1940-41 experimental door configuration.

Chicago Surface Lines "tiger stripes," 1945.

Chicago Surface Lines “tiger stripes,” 1945.

CSL 4010 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4010 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4018 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4018 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4020 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4020 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4022 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4022 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4035 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4035 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4050 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4050 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

1952 CTA one-man conversion.

1952 CTA one-man conversion.

1946 Chicago Surface Lines as-delivered with white standee windows.

1946 Chicago Surface Lines as-delivered with white standee windows.

1946 Chicago Surface Lines in Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange.

1946 Chicago Surface Lines in Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange.

1952 Chicago Transit Authority Everglade Green and Cream.

1952 Chicago Transit Authority Everglade Green and Cream.

A CSL prewar car in standard colors on Madison, somewhere west of the Loop. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors on Madison, somewhere west of the Loop. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors on Madison, near the west end of the line. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors on Madison, near the west end of the line. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4035 on Madison near the west end of the line. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4035 on Madison near the west end of the line. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL "tiger stripes" car near the old State Theatre, which was located at 5814 W. Madison. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL “tiger stripes” car near the old State Theatre, which was located at 5814 W. Madison. (John Marton Collection)

"Tiger stripes" on route 20 - Madison, pulling out from the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

“Tiger stripes” on route 20 – Madison, pulling out from the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

A CTA "tiger stripes" car at the east end of the 63rd Street line. (John Marton Collection)

A CTA “tiger stripes” car at the east end of the 63rd Street line. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors neat the west end of the Madison line. (Joh n Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors neat the west end of the Madison line. (Joh n Marton Collection)

CSL 4018 in experimental colors, at the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4018 in experimental colors, at the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

There's not much color here, but the shape of the stripe would indicate this is CSL 4018 heading towards is on the west end of Madison, while the yellow color would suggest that's 4050 in the opposite direction. (John Marton Collection)

There’s not much color here, but the shape of the stripe would indicate this is CSL 4018 heading towards is on the west end of Madison, while the yellow color would suggest that’s 4050 in the opposite direction. (John Marton Collection)

A CTA prewar car in "tiger stripes" on 63rd Street. (John Marton Collection) Andre Kristopans: "The shot of the prewar car on 63rd in tiger stripes between shots of 4018 and 4010 is just east of 63rd and Indiana. For some reason, 63rd St is offset to the south about 50 feet from State to Indiana, this is why there appears to be a curve behind the car, as there really is a jog there."

A CTA prewar car in “tiger stripes” on 63rd Street. (John Marton Collection) Andre Kristopans: “The shot of the prewar car on 63rd in tiger stripes between shots of 4018 and 4010 is just east of 63rd and Indiana. For some reason, 63rd St is offset to the south about 50 feet from State to Indiana, this is why there appears to be a curve behind the car, as there really is a jog there.”

CSL 4010 in experimental colors, near the State Theater (5814 W. Madison). (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4010 in experimental colors, near the State Theater (5814 W. Madison). (John Marton Collection)

This picture was taken at Madison and Austin, west end of route 20. Interstingly, two prewar CSL PCCs are posted side by side. That's 4018 in experimental paint at left, next to a car in "tiger stripes." (John Marton Collection)

This picture was taken at Madison and Austin, west end of route 20. Interstingly, two prewar CSL PCCs are posted side by side. That’s 4018 in experimental paint at left, next to a car in “tiger stripes.” (John Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors stops at a safety island near the old State Theatre, which was located at 5814 W. Madison. The State, opened in 1925, could seat 1,900. It was taken over by the Balaban and Katz chain in the 1930s and remained open into the late 1970s. Sadly, it was demolished in 1995. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors stops at a safety island near the old State Theatre, which was located at 5814 W. Madison. The State, opened in 1925, could seat 1,900. It was taken over by the Balaban and Katz chain in the 1930s and remained open into the late 1970s. Sadly, it was demolished in 1995. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4020 in experimental colors, on route 20 - Madison just west of the Loop. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4020 in experimental colors, on route 20 – Madison just west of the Loop. (John Marton Collection)

A westbound PCC nearing the west end of route 20 - Madison. You can tell by the radio tower, which is still located at the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

A westbound PCC nearing the west end of route 20 – Madison. You can tell by the radio tower, which is still located at the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4020, in experimental paint, at the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4020, in experimental paint, at the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

"Tiger stripes" on route 20 - Madison, leaving the Madison-Austin terminal. (John Marton Collection)

“Tiger stripes” on route 20 – Madison, leaving the Madison-Austin terminal. (John Marton Collection)

"Tiger stripes" on route 20 - Madison just west of the Loop. (John Marton Collection)

“Tiger stripes” on route 20 – Madison just west of the Loop. (John Marton Collection)


Recent Correspondence

Andre Kristopans writes:

Sending you two files which were originally researched by George Chaisson in the early 1990’s, one detailing 6000 assignments thru 6/58 and the other 4000 assignments 1949 thru 1958. Put them on your blog.

Thanks very much. I am sure our readers will appreciate having the information.


Island Model Works offers this model of a Chicago 4000-series "L" car (among others). This is the earlier 1913 version with center doors that were not used in service this way. The idea was to speed loading and unloading, but the doors were sealed before these cars were put into service and seats were put there. These cars were built by the Cincinnati Car Company and many were in service for 50 years.

Island Model Works offers this model of a Chicago 4000-series “L” car (among others). This is the earlier 1913 version with center doors that were not used in service this way. The idea was to speed loading and unloading, but the doors were sealed before these cars were put into service and seats were put there. These cars were built by the Cincinnati Car Company and many were in service for 50 years.

CTA Rapid Transit Cars 4067-4455 History 1949-58:

07/49 4001-4455 on NS (North-South)
08/52 4251-4262 move NS to LS (Logan Square)
4299-4328 move NS to RV (Ravenswood)
10/52 4001-4051 move NS to LS
4052-4066 move NS to LK (Lake) (trailers off NS)
4261-4298 move NS to LS
4299-4301 move RV to LS
4302-4328 move RV to LK (1st 4000’s on Lake)
4329-4340 move NS to LK
12/52 4037-4051 move LS to NS
4052-4066 move LK to NS (trailers off LK, return to NS)
4302-4322 move LK to LS
4341-4370 move NS to LK
02/53 4101-4136 move NS to LS, coupled to 4001-4036
4137-4166 coupled to 4037-4066 on NS
04/53 4011/4111, 4044/4144 destroyed in fire at Logan Square (note 4044/4144 were NS cars)
05/53 4371-4455 (NS assigned) used on EV (Evanston) on weekends
03/54 4026-4028 move LS to NS
4099-4100 move NS to LS
4126-4136 move LS to NS
4299-4322 move LS to LK
4355-4370 move LK to NS
04/54 4126-4131 move NS to LS
4293-4298 move LS to LK
4335-4336 move NS to LK
05/54 4026-4028 move NS to LK
4037-4039 move NS to LK
4337-4360 move NS to LK
Status 5/22/54:
4001-4010 LS
4011 retired
4012-4025 LS
4026-4028 LK
4029-4036 LS
4037-4039 LK
4040-4043 NS
4044 retired
4045-4066 NS
4067-4098 NS
4099-4110 LS
4111 retired
4112-4131 LS
4132-4143 NS
4144 retired
4145-4250 NS
4251-4292 LS
4293-4360 LK
4361-4455 NS (also EV Sat-Sun)
07/54 4066 r# 4044 on NS
4040-4047 move NS to LK
4361-4402 move NS to LK
10/54 4048-4057 move NS to LK
4403-4448 move NS to LK
4455 move NS to LK
01/55 4067-4098 move NS to DP (Douglas Park) (1st 4000’s on DP)
05/55 4019-4025 move LS to LK
4029-4036 move LS to LK
4046-4057 move LK to DP
4067-4098 move DP to LS
4125-4131 move LS to DP
4132-4143 move NS to DP
4145-4194 move NS to DP
4283-4292 move LS to LK
4433-4448 move LK to GP (Garfield park) (1st 4000’s on GP)
4455 move LK to GP
Status 05/55:
4001-4010 LS
4011 retired
4012-4018 LS
4019-4045 LK
4046-4057 DP
4058-4065 NS
4066 r# 4044
4067-4110 LS
4111 retired
4112-4124 LS
4125-4143 DP
4144 retired
4145-4194 DP
4195-4250 NS
4251-4282 LS
4283-4432 LK
4433-4448 GP
4449-4454 NS (EV Sat-Sun)
4455 GP
07/55 4058-4065 move NS to GP (trailers off NS)
4195-4250 move NS to GP
4449-4454 move NS to GP (4000’s off NS)
4045 move LK to DP
4121-4124 move LS to DP
08/55 4005 off LS for motorization
09/55 4019 move LK to LS
4045 move DP to LK
4055-4058 move GP to DP
4186-4208 move GP to DP
4433-4455 move GP to DP
11/55 4455 move DP to LS
4005 return to service LS as 4456
4121-4126 move DP to LS
02/57 4046-4047 move DP to LK
4048-4049 move DP to LS
4058 move DP to GP
4127-4143 move DP to RV
4195-4208 move DP to GP
4433-4454 move DP to GP
05/57 4060-4065 move GP to RV
4127-4143 move RV to DP
4179-4194 move DP to RV
4195-4220 move GP to RV
06/57 4067-4088 move LS to RV
4127-4143 move DP to LS
4221-4242 move GP to RV
08/57 4058-4059 move GP to RV
4119-4142 move LS to DP
4172-4178 move DP to RV
4243-4250 move GP to RV
4433-4454 move GP to LS
09/57 4119-4142 move LS to DP
4145-4149 move LS to DP
4251-4282 move LS to EV (1st 4000’s assigned to EV)
12/57 4001-4004 move LS to EV
4006 move LS to EV
4050-4057 move DP to RV
4150-4171 move DP to LS
4172-4178 move RV to LS
4433-4455 move LS to EV
(note 4456 recoupled to 4143)
06/58 4007, 4107 retired off LS (fire)
4003-4004 retired off EV
4028-4029, 4032-4033, 4039 retired off LK
4065 retired off RV
06/22/58 status:
4001-4002 EV
4006 EV
4008-4010 LS to WNW (West-Northwest)
4012-4019 LS to WNW
4020-4027 LK
4030-4031 LK
4034-4038 LK
4040-4047 LK
4048-4049 LS to WNW
4050-4064 RV
4067-4088 RV
4089-4106 LS to WNW
4108-4110 LS to WNW
4112-4143 LS to WNW
4145-4178 LS to WNW
4179-4250 RV
4251-4282 EV
4283-4432 LK
4433-4455 EV
4456 LS to WNW


Chicago Transit Authority 6000-series "L" cars in their 1950 as-delivered colors.

Chicago Transit Authority 6000-series “L” cars in their 1950 as-delivered colors.

CTA Rapid Transit Cars 6000s 1950-1958:

08-12/50 6001-6084 new to LS (Logan Square)
12/50-03/51 6085-6130 new to RV (Ravenswood)
09-12/51 6131-6200 new to RV
6085-6090 move RV to LS
6091-6110 move RV to DP (Douglas Park)
07/52 6047-6048 move LS to RV
6085-6086 move DP to LS
6131-6134, 6141-6142 move RV to DP
08/52 6069-6086 move LS to RV
6087-6128, 6131-6134, 6141-6142 move DP to RV
10/52 6001-6068 move LS to NS (North-South)
6069-6146 move RV to NS (all 6000’s off LS, DP)
3/54 6201-6228 new to GP (Garfield Park) (1st on route)
03-07/54 6229-6350 new to NS
6201-6228 move GP to NS
6111-6146 move NS to GP
6091-6110, 6177-6200 move NS to DP (6000’s return to DP)
12/54-04/55 6351-6450 new to NS
6041-6090 move NS to DP
6177-6200 move DP to RV
05-07/55 6451-6470 new to NS
6041-6110 move DP to NS
6111-6112 move GP to NS
6127-6130 off GP for modifications
6145-6146 move GP to DP
6147-6168 move RV to DP
07/55 6113-6126, 6131-6144 move GP to NS (6000’s off GP)
09/55 6145-6168 move DP to NS (6000’s off DP)
11/55 6127-6130 reinstated on EV (Evanston) as high-speed cars
03/56 6123-6126 move NS to EV, poles installed
06/56 6159-6168 move NS to RV
10/56-04/57 6471-6550 new to NS
6001-6034 move NS to DP (6000’s return to DP)
04-06/57 6551-6600 new to NS
6035-6066 move NS to GP (6000’s return to GP)
07/57-04/58 6601-6670 new to NS
6067-6092 move NS to GP
6093-6122 move NS to DP
6123-6130 move EV to NS
6131-6144 move NS to DP
06/58 6145-6152 move NS to DP
6153-6158 move NS to RV
6511-6522 move NS to GP
6/22/58 6001-6034 DP to WNW (West-Northwest)
6035-6092 GP to WNW
6093-6122 DP to WNW
6123-6130 on NS
6131-6152 DP to WNW
6153-6200 on RV
6201-6510 on NS
6511-6522 GP to WNW
6523-6670 on NS


On the Chicagotransit Yahoo discussion group, Dennis McClendon asked:

Did Chicago Motor Coach—or, for that matter, CSL’s bus operations—ever use conductors or onboard collectors in addition to drivers?

Andre Kristopans:

CMC certainly did, on the open-top double-decks from 1917 until WW2, when the last were retired. There was no reasonable way to convert them to one-man as they were rear-entrance/exit. The 1930’s Double-deckers were one-man, with a front entrance. The rest of the CMC single-level fleet, from the early 20’s onward, were always one-man, as they were relatively small.

CSL never had two-man buses, as before CTA took over, CSL buses were really rather tiny by comparison to a streetcar, and were used strictly on what would be considered minor and feeder routes. However, in 1950 when the CTA ordered the 5000 Twins, there was some question whether two man buses would be needed to convert the remaining streetcar routes, as some were very heavy, and it was thought a one-man bus would suffer from excessive dwell time at stops loading and unloading, resulting in extremely slow schedules. However, as “luck” would have it, riding fell so dramatically in the early to mid 1950’s that by the time the heaviest main lines were being converted, buses were quite able to handle the loads on a reasonable schedule.

I replied:

I have seen a picture, taken in the 1950s, showing a CTA employee standing outside a trolley bus, taking fares and letting people in through the back door.

This was a practice that CTA also seems to have done, at least at first, at certain times and certain points along streetcar routes that had recently been converted to one-man.

Chances are the practice did not last too long, for the reasons you mention– surface ridership was in decline, and as a result, there was less crowding on the buses.

Andre again:

The last remnants of this lasted into the 1980’s. Last place I know of was at Belmont/Kimball L stating in the PM rush, mostly on WB Belmont buses. In the 1960’s there were a lot of loaders at L stations (and also at high schools). From what I gather, many of these guys were “medical cases”, drivers who could no longer drive buses for one reason or another, and they were given part-time work to help out with their work-related disability pensions. Towards the last years, there were also regular drivers doing this as overtime.

There is still a very minimal version of this to this day at one location that I know of – Belmont/Sheffield L station, where in the PM rush they send a guy with a portable Ventra reader to help load up westbounds, but as far as I know it is somebody from the office detailed to do this. On Cubs game days they also use this same portable reader at Cubs Park to help load westbound extras.

robyer2000 adds (on Chicagotransit):

CTA used to have collectors at choke points and major events, like the ball parks, to take fares and admit people using the rear doors. ‎ I saw it many times.


THE RAILROAD RECORD CLUB & THE 60th ANNIVERSARY CD

By Kenneth Gear

I’ve been a fan of the Railroad Record Club albums ever since I played the first one. That was in the late 1970s when my Uncle, a huge PRR fan, loaned me his copy of RRC # 10. That record contained the sounds of Pennsylvania RR steam and I enjoyed it so much, that I wrote to Hawkins, Wisconsin to find out if I could buy my own copy. I could and did. I was in high school then and funds were rather scarce, and I was only able to buy a few more LPs before the Railroad Record Club ceased to exist.

Just a year or so ago, my interest in these recordings was rekindled. I began bidding on the RRC LPs on eBay, then sending them out to a sound lab to be converted to CD. The resulting CDs were disappointing because the sound lab employees had no idea what to do to improve these sounds, they were used to working with music, not the traction motor sounds of a CSS&SB MU car.
Enter Trolley Dodger Records!

When I found out that David Sadowski was releasing CDs of the old RRC albums I couldn’t wait to buy some. Not only was I now able to get many of the albums that I never bought on vinyl, but David made these recordings sound better than they ever had before! I sent him my entire RRC collection (and searched eBay for more) and he converted them to digital, improved the sound quality, and made those great recordings available again!

Now David has taken the next step and has recorded a brand new Railroad Record Club album, RRC # 37, a 60th anniversary tribute to William A. Steventon and his legacy of preserving the sounds of America’s railroading history.

This new CD was recorded at the Illinois Railway Museum, a place that I’m sure the late Mr. Steventon would have been be very fond of. The Railroad Record Club released many recordings of traction sounds over the years and the new CD pays tribute to that legacy. It contains the sounds of a large assortment of Chicago area trolleys and interurban cars including CTA single car units, CA&E wood and steel cars, a PCC (a favorite track of mine since I rode PCCs in revenue service on the Newark, NJ City subway) and many others. There are even a few cameo appearances from Frisco 2-10-0 #1630!

Some of the tracks on the CD contain a brief history of the cars being ridden as told by the conductor on the train. The inclusion of this bit of narration gives the listener a better appreciation of the equipment and puts a historical context to the sounds that follow.

Tracks 4, 5 & 6 on disc one of the CA&E steel cars making a main line run really invokes the “on train” recordings of the RRC interurban records! The sounds of these wonderful cars come through perfectly, so crisp and clear that you can almost feel the bounce and sway of the cars as they hit each rail joint. It’s not hard to imagine how it felt to ride on the “Roarin’ Elgin” albeit at a slower speed.

Another interesting nod to the original RRC recordings is track 7 of Commonwealth Edison electric locomotive # 4. Just as the train was leaving the station, a gusty wind began to blow and the resulting wind noise is plainly audible. This reminded me instantly of a favorite track on RRC # 10, the PRR album. Track 3 is of PRR # 4249 at Paxinos, PA on a windy day in 1954. Here, as on the PRR LP, the wind is as much a part of the “sound picture” as the locomotive on the train.

Track 9 is a great but much too short “on train” speed run of CTA single unit cars # 22 & 41.

Track 3 on disc 2 is a real treat! It’s another trip on the “Roarin’ Elgin”, this time on board the wood cars. Every little moan, creak, bang, & rattle of these 100 year old cars is splendidly recorded in digital audio. Also of note on this track is a “meet” between the train of CA&E “woods” and Frisco 2-10-0 # 1630. Heard here is the sound of a steam locomotive recorded from inside a transit car. Mr. Steventon did a very similar thing in May of 1954 when he recorded a NYC 4-8-2 in Cleveland, OH from a Shaker Heights Rapid Transit car. This track is on RRC # 20 NYC/C&IM.

Track 4 is also reminiscent of RRC recordings of the past. In this case, CSL red Pullman car 144 departs the depot. The gear noise is plainly heard but the best part is when the sound of the departing transit car mixes with the high pitched excited voices of young children, just as they did on RRC # 18. The first track on RRC # 18 has the sound of CNS&M car 754 at Racine, WI leaving the station to a chorus of children’s shouting.

Another fine recording of CSL car 144 is track 6. This is a complete trolley loop circuit and the gear nose couldn’t come through any clearer.

The last track, number 11, contains another mix of traction and steam. On RRC # 7 the last track is also a traction/steam mix but there IC # 2507, a 4-8-2, is at center stage while a IT interurban is heard in the background. On the new CD the roles are reversed and the traction is in the lead role and the steamer reduced to the background.

These CDs are great modern digital recordings of vintage railroad equipment with more than a little inspiration coming from those wonderful old Railroad Record Club recordings!

Another interesting comparison between the new CDs and the old RRC LPs. These new CDs contain as much audio as five of the original RRC LPs and costs $19.95. According to a 1966 Railroad Record Club catalog, 5 LPs would cost $21.00. What else can be bought today at lower than 1966 prices!


RRC37ARRC37B

RRC #37
Railroad Record Club
60th Anniversary Tribute
# of Discs – 2

Railroad Record Club #37:
We celebrate the Railroad Record Club with a 60th anniversary tribute containing all new audio of vintage streetcars, interurbans, trolley buses, and even a bit of steam, recorded in 2016 at the Illinois Railway Museum. Electric equipment featured includes CTA PCC 4391, CSL red Pullman 144, CSL “Matchbox” 1374, CTA “L” single car units 22 and 41, CTA trolley bus 9553, and the interurbans of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, and Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee (North Shore Line). Steam sounds are provided by Frisco 1630. Recorded with the finest quality digital equipment of today, this is a fitting tribute to the late William Steventon and the Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, Wisconsin, with all the bells and whistles, dings, and gear sounds we could fit onto a pair of CDs. The material presented here is equivalent in length to about five of the original RRC LPs.

Total time:
Disc 1- 79:38
Disc 2- 79:55

Editor’s note: This title is no longer available for purchase.


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


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Night Beat

In this classic July 1963 shot, South Shore Line car 25 is parked at the east end of the line in downtown South Bend, across from the Hotel LaSalle. Service was cut back to Bendix at the outskirts of town in 1970, and later extended to the local airport. Don's Rail Photos adds, "25 was built by Pullman in 1927. It was lengthened and air conditioned, and got picture windows in 1947."

In this classic July 1963 shot, South Shore Line car 25 is parked at the east end of the line in downtown South Bend, across from the Hotel LaSalle. Service was cut back to Bendix at the outskirts of town in 1970, and later extended to the local airport. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “25 was built by Pullman in 1927. It was lengthened and air conditioned, and got picture windows in 1947.”

nightbeat

Chicagoans of a certain age might recall Night Beat, a WGN-TV late night news show that aired after the Late Movie between 1958 and 1983. For much of that time, baritone Carl Greyson was the announcer.*

We begin today’s post with our very own Night Beat of sorts, an exhibit of some fine night photography from the early 1960s. We rightly celebrate 3/4 views of streetcars taken on days with bright sunshine and cloudless skies, but there is also something to be said for those few railfan shutterbugs who experimented and documented what some cities call “Owl Service.”

Back in the days of film and manually set cameras, many photographers operated using the “sunny f/16” rule, or some variation thereof, where your shutter speed corresponds to the film speed, and your lens opening is f/16 on a bright sunny day. So, with ISO 64 film, this gives a setting of 1/60th of a second at f/16, and you can extrapolate from there (i.e., this is equivalent to 1/125th at f/11, 1/250th at f/8, etc.).

But this relationship begins to fail when you are talking about longer exposures. It is an effect called “reciprocity failure.” Now, your general idea of reciprocity might be that if I scratch your back, you’ll scratch mine. But for our purposes, this means that photographic materials may not behave in a predictable manner when used outside of the norm.

So, long exposure times of several seconds may not give predictable results. There are other problems with night shots, including the different colors of mixed light sources (incandescent plus fluorescent), and problems with determining the proper exposure when light sources have such a wide range of brightness.

This means you really can’t follow any special rule for available light photography at night; it’s really a matter of trial and error. The best method is to steady your camera on a tripod and experiment with different exposures, in hopes that perhaps one image out of the lot might turn out really well.

What we have here are some excellent shots, taken by an unknown photographer who was good at this sort of thing and was willing to travel the country. Chances are, for every acceptable photo, there were several that ended up in the circular file.

Here’s to those unnamed Night Owls who prowled around in the 1960s and covered the traction Night Beat.

-David Sadowski

*You can hear the classic 1970s Night Beat theme here. A fuller version of the theme, which many associate with Chicago night life, can be heard in a 1977 special that featured actor Bill Bixby. Supposedly, the music was composed by Dave Grusin, although nobody seems to know for sure what the piece was called, or where it originated.

A two-car train of 6000s prepares to head east from the DesPlaines Avenue terminal on the CTA Congress branch in April 1964. This was the station arrangement from 1959 until the early 1980s. As I recall, the entrance at right in front of the train led to a narrow sidewalk where you had to cross the tracks in order to access the platform, hardly an ideal setup. At right there was a parking lot, and a few streaks of light show you where I-290 is located. The tracks today are in pretty much the same exact location, however.

A two-car train of 6000s prepares to head east from the DesPlaines Avenue terminal on the CTA Congress branch in April 1964. This was the station arrangement from 1959 until the early 1980s. As I recall, the entrance at right in front of the train led to a narrow sidewalk where you had to cross the tracks in order to access the platform, hardly an ideal setup. At right there was a parking lot, and a few streaks of light show you where I-290 is located. The tracks today are in pretty much the same exact location, however.

I believe this July 1963 picture shows the South Shore Line station at Roosevelt Road. Frank Hicks writes, "Chicago South Shore & South Bend 504. This interurban freight trailer has a more unusual history than most. It was built for ISC as an interurban combine, and ran on that system's lines in Indiana for five years until ISC became part of the great Indiana Railroad system. IR rebuilt the three cars of the 375-377 series into railway post office cars and put them to use in this unusual capacity. The three RPO's survived on IR until the end of interurban service in 1941, at which time all three were sold to the only other interurban line then operating in Indiana: the South Shore. The South Shore converted 376 into a line car while 375 and 377 became express package trailers. These cars were designed to run in passenger trains and had control lines so that they could be run mid-train; they were often used to transport newspapers. Car 504 was retired in 1975 and acquired by IRM, which has repainted it and put it on display." (Editor's Note: car 377 became 504.)

I believe this July 1963 picture shows the South Shore Line station at Roosevelt Road. Frank Hicks writes, “Chicago South Shore & South Bend 504. This interurban freight trailer has a more unusual history than most. It was built for ISC as an interurban combine, and ran on that system’s lines in Indiana for five years until ISC became part of the great Indiana Railroad system. IR rebuilt the three cars of the 375-377 series into railway post office cars and put them to use in this unusual capacity. The three RPO’s survived on IR until the end of interurban service in 1941, at which time all three were sold to the only other interurban line then operating in Indiana: the South Shore. The South Shore converted 376 into a line car while 375 and 377 became express package trailers. These cars were designed to run in passenger trains and had control lines so that they could be run mid-train; they were often used to transport newspapers. Car 504 was retired in 1975 and acquired by IRM, which has repainted it and put it on display.” (Editor’s Note: car 377 became 504.)

This slide showing one of the North Shore Line Electroliners is dated January 1963, and who knows, it may have been taken on that last frigid night. Jerry Wiatrowski writes, "The unidentified picture of the Electroliner was taken at North Chicago Junction. The train is Southbound coming off of the Waukegan bypass to Edison Court and Milwaukee."

This slide showing one of the North Shore Line Electroliners is dated January 1963, and who knows, it may have been taken on that last frigid night. Jerry Wiatrowski writes, “The unidentified picture of the Electroliner was taken at North Chicago Junction. The train is Southbound coming off of the Waukegan bypass to Edison Court and Milwaukee.”

When this April 1964 picture was taken at the 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, the Red Arrow Lines were still privately held, and the Ardmore trolley was still running. Two and a half years later, it would be replaced by bus service. 1941-era Brilliner #1, a Sharon Hill car, is in the station.

When this April 1964 picture was taken at the 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, the Red Arrow Lines were still privately held, and the Ardmore trolley was still running. Two and a half years later, it would be replaced by bus service. 1941-era Brilliner #1, a Sharon Hill car, is in the station.

It's August 1963 in Boston, and MTA PCC 3243 stands ready for another trip on the Green Line. Phil Bergen writes, "The night view of the Boston PCC that appears in today’s posting was taken at Riverside terminal. Although picture window PCCs were originally used on this line, other PCCs were added to meet the demand. The side roll sign, once enlarged, indicates this is a Riverside car, and the terminal itself is the only place where there were multiple tracks." The Riverside line started running on July 4, 1959 and occupies a right-of-way once used by a steam commuter railroad. It is considered a pioneer in what we today call "light rail."

It’s August 1963 in Boston, and MTA PCC 3243 stands ready for another trip on the Green Line. Phil Bergen writes, “The night view of the Boston PCC that appears in today’s posting was taken at Riverside terminal. Although picture window PCCs were originally used on this line, other PCCs were added to meet the demand. The side roll sign, once enlarged, indicates this is a Riverside car, and the terminal itself is the only place where there were multiple tracks.” The Riverside line started running on July 4, 1959 and occupies a right-of-way once used by a steam commuter railroad. It is considered a pioneer in what we today call “light rail.”

From 1949 until 1963, the North Shore Line had the CTA's Roosevelt Road station all to itself, as this July 1962 picture of car 752 shows. Don's Rail Photos: "752 was built by Standard Steel Car in 1930. It was modernized in 1940."

From 1949 until 1963, the North Shore Line had the CTA’s Roosevelt Road station all to itself, as this July 1962 picture of car 752 shows. Don’s Rail Photos: “752 was built by Standard Steel Car in 1930. It was modernized in 1940.”

The North Shore Line terminal in Milwaukee in January 1963.

The North Shore Line terminal in Milwaukee in January 1963.

A North Shore Line train stops at Edison Court in January 1963.

A North Shore Line train stops at Edison Court in January 1963.

A Toronto subway train in August 1963.

A Toronto subway train in August 1963.

Toronto Peter Witt 2766 at Vincent Loop in November 1964. (R. McMann Photo)

Toronto Peter Witt 2766 at Vincent Loop in November 1964. (R. McMann Photo)

TTC crane C-2 at work at Queen Street and Eastern Avenue in October 1966. (R. McMann Photo)

TTC crane C-2 at work at Queen Street and Eastern Avenue in October 1966. (R. McMann Photo)

A postcard view of C-2 at work in 1967.

A postcard view of C-2 at work in 1967.

Originally, I thought this was early 1960s night shot showed a CTA single-car unit in the 1-50 series, and those cars were used on the Congress-Douglas-Milwaukee line. But as Andre Kristopans has pointed out, the doors on those cars were closer to the ends than this one, which he identifies as being part of the 6511-6720 series. It just looks like there's one car, since the other "married pair" behind it is not illuminated. This picture was most likely taken at the end of the line at DesPlaines Avenue.

Originally, I thought this was early 1960s night shot showed a CTA single-car unit in the 1-50 series, and those cars were used on the Congress-Douglas-Milwaukee line. But as Andre Kristopans has pointed out, the doors on those cars were closer to the ends than this one, which he identifies as being part of the 6511-6720 series. It just looks like there’s one car, since the other “married pair” behind it is not illuminated. This picture was most likely taken at the end of the line at DesPlaines Avenue.

From left to right, we see New Orleans Public Service cars 930, 934, and 900 in the barn. All were built by Perley-Thomas Car Co in 1924, and are signed for the St. Charles line. New Orleans is practically unique in North America, in that it never modernized its fleet with PCCs, yet has maintained uninterrupted service with vintage equipment. (Even the newer cars New Orleans has now are "retro" styled.) The date of this photo is not known.

From left to right, we see New Orleans Public Service cars 930, 934, and 900 in the barn. All were built by Perley-Thomas Car Co in 1924, and are signed for the St. Charles line. New Orleans is practically unique in North America, in that it never modernized its fleet with PCCs, yet has maintained uninterrupted service with vintage equipment. (Even the newer cars New Orleans has now are “retro” styled.) The date of this photo is not known.

A South Shore Line train at the old Gary station in August 1970.

A South Shore Line train at the old Gary station in August 1970.

South Shore Line car 110 laying over at South Bend, Indiana in July 1963. This was the east end of the line until 1970, when service was cut back to the outskirts of town, and South Bend street running was eliminated. In 1992, service was extended to the South Bend International Airport, 3 miles northwest of downtown South Bend.

South Shore Line car 110 laying over at South Bend, Indiana in July 1963. This was the east end of the line until 1970, when service was cut back to the outskirts of town, and South Bend street running was eliminated. In 1992, service was extended to the South Bend International Airport, 3 miles northwest of downtown South Bend.

This remarkable picture was taken at the North Shore Line's Milwaukee terminal in January 1963. for all we know, this may be the last night of operation. If so, the temperature was below zero.

This remarkable picture was taken at the North Shore Line’s Milwaukee terminal in January 1963. for all we know, this may be the last night of operation. If so, the temperature was below zero.

A Dayton (Ohio) trolley bus at night in September 1972.

A Dayton (Ohio) trolley bus at night in September 1972.


pic304.png

The next three photos have been added to our previous post Love For Selle (June 8, 2016):

Caption: "3 cars on North Shore Line northbound at Kenilworth (714 on rear of train), July 13, 1955. This was shortly before the end of service on the Shore Line Route. (Bob Selle Photo) Don's Rail Photos: "714 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1926, #2890. It is modernized in 1939 and preserved in 1963 by the Illinois Railway Museum."

Caption: “3 cars on North Shore Line northbound at Kenilworth (714 on rear of train), July 13, 1955. This was shortly before the end of service on the Shore Line Route. (Bob Selle Photo) Don’s Rail Photos: “714 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1926, #2890. It is modernized in 1939 and preserved in 1963 by the Illinois Railway Museum.”

This looks like a 1952 Chevrolet 4-door Fleetline fastback to me, which would be a somewhat rare model with only a few thousand produced. The fastback, which had enjoyed a brief vogue starting around 1941, was dropped for the 1953 model year.

This looks like a 1952 Chevrolet 4-door Fleetline fastback to me, which would be a somewhat rare model with only a few thousand produced. The fastback, which had enjoyed a brief vogue starting around 1941, was dropped for the 1953 model year.

It's May 30, 1958 and Chicago Surface Lines car 1467 (former CTA salt car AA72) is at the Electric Railway Historical Society site on Plainfield Road in Downer's Grove. Don's Rail Photos says this "Bowling Alley" car "was built by CUTCo in 1900 as CUT 4516. It was rebuilt as 1467 in 1911 and became CSL 1467 in 1914. It was rebuilt as salt car and renumbered AA72 on April 15, 1948. It was retired on February 28, 1958. It was sold to Electric Railway Historical Society in 1959 and went to Illinois Railway Museum in 1973." Actually it must have been sold earlier, as the negative envelope has written on it "owned now by ERHS!" (Bob Selle Photo)

It’s May 30, 1958 and Chicago Surface Lines car 1467 (former CTA salt car AA72) is at the Electric Railway Historical Society site on Plainfield Road in Downer’s Grove. Don’s Rail Photos says this “Bowling Alley” car “was built by CUTCo in 1900 as CUT 4516. It was rebuilt as 1467 in 1911 and became CSL 1467 in 1914. It was rebuilt as salt car and renumbered AA72 on April 15, 1948. It was retired on February 28, 1958. It was sold to Electric Railway Historical Society in 1959 and went to Illinois Railway Museum in 1973.” Actually it must have been sold earlier, as the negative envelope has written on it “owned now by ERHS!” (Bob Selle Photo)

North Shore Line cars 411 and 715 at an unidentified location. Don's Rail Photos says, "411 was built as a trailer observation car by Cincinnati Car in June 1923 #2640. It was out of service in 1932. 411 got the same treatment on February 25, 1943, and sold to Trolley Museum of New York in 1963. It was sold to Wisconsin Electric Railway & Historical Society in 1973 and sold to Escanaba & Lake Superior in 1989." As for the other car, Don says, "715 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1926, #2890. It is modernized in 1939 and purchased by Mid-Continent Railroad Museum in 1963. It was sold to Wisconsin Electric Railway Museum in 1967 and then sold to Fox River Trolley in 1988."

North Shore Line cars 411 and 715 at an unidentified location. Don’s Rail Photos says, “411 was built as a trailer observation car by Cincinnati Car in June 1923 #2640. It was out of service in 1932. 411 got the same treatment on February 25, 1943, and sold to Trolley Museum of New York in 1963. It was sold to Wisconsin Electric Railway & Historical Society in 1973 and sold to Escanaba & Lake Superior in 1989.” As for the other car, Don says, “715 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1926, #2890. It is modernized in 1939 and purchased by Mid-Continent Railroad Museum in 1963. It was sold to Wisconsin Electric Railway Museum in 1967 and then sold to Fox River Trolley in 1988.”

North Shore Line car 255 is laying over on middle storage track at the Roosevelt Road station on the Chicago "L". Don's Rail Photos": "255 was built by Jewett in 1917. It had all of the seats removed in the 1920s to provide a full length baggage car which ran in passenger trains. It was used for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to move equipment to Ravinia. On July 2, 1942, the 40 seats were replaced. Then on December 1, 1946, the seats were again removed. In addition to the Symphony, the car was used for sailors' baggage from Great Lakes." (C. Edward Hedstrom, Jr. Photo)

North Shore Line car 255 is laying over on middle storage track at the Roosevelt Road station on the Chicago “L”. Don’s Rail Photos”: “255 was built by Jewett in 1917. It had all of the seats removed in the 1920s to provide a full length baggage car which ran in passenger trains. It was used for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to move equipment to Ravinia. On July 2, 1942, the 40 seats were replaced. Then on December 1, 1946, the seats were again removed. In addition to the Symphony, the car was used for sailors’ baggage from Great Lakes.” (C. Edward Hedstrom, Jr. Photo)

CSL "Little" Pullman 985 at Wabash and Roosevelt in September 1936. It was built in 1910. It appears to be on through route 3 - Lincoln-Indiana, which operated from 1912 to 1951.

CSL “Little” Pullman 985 at Wabash and Roosevelt in September 1936. It was built in 1910. It appears to be on through route 3 – Lincoln-Indiana, which operated from 1912 to 1951.

CSL "Big" Pullman 144 on Cermak Road, September 19, 1934. Don's Rail Photos: "144 was built by Pullman in 1908. It was acquired by Illinois Railway Museum in 1959." It is rare to find pictures of the 144 in actual service as opposed to some 1950s fantrip.

CSL “Big” Pullman 144 on Cermak Road, September 19, 1934. Don’s Rail Photos: “144 was built by Pullman in 1908. It was acquired by Illinois Railway Museum in 1959.” It is rare to find pictures of the 144 in actual service as opposed to some 1950s fantrip.

A close-up of the car in the last photo. It closely resembles two very similar, low-production front wheel drive cars on the market circa 1930, the Cord L-29 and the even rarer Ruxton. However, Dan Cluley seems to have correctly identified this as a 1930 Checker Model M. The auto on the other side of the streetcar looks like an early 1930s Auburn, which was also built by Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg, headquartered in Auburn, Indiana.

A close-up of the car in the last photo. It closely resembles two very similar, low-production front wheel drive cars on the market circa 1930, the Cord L-29 and the even rarer Ruxton. However, Dan Cluley seems to have correctly identified this as a 1930 Checker Model M. The auto on the other side of the streetcar looks like an early 1930s Auburn, which was also built by Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg, headquartered in Auburn, Indiana.

The 1930 Checker Model M.

The 1930 Checker Model M.

This is a 1929 Ruxton Model A Baker-Raulang Roadster.

This is a 1929 Ruxton Model A Baker-Raulang Roadster.

And this is a 1930 Cord L-29 Convertible.

And this is a 1930 Cord L-29 Convertible.

An early 1930s Auburn with fancy hood ornament.

An early 1930s Auburn with fancy hood ornament.

Chicago Surface Lines 5241 on 111th Street near Vincennes on August 3, 1947. The sign on the front of the car indicates this was on through route 8. According to www.chicagrailfan.com, "Various Through Route combinations existed throughout the early history of this route. Original Through Route operated between Grace/Halsted and 63rd/Stony Island via Halsted and 63rd St. Beginning in 1912, some Halsted service, mainly route 42 Halsted-Downtown service, began operating south of 79th St. via Vincennes and 111th St. to Sacramento, over what now is the 112 route. While for most of through service continuing north on Halsted, the south terminal remained 79th St. Effective 5/24/31, the through Halsted service generally turned around at 111th/Sacramento, with the downtown service generally turning at 79th St. Through service south of 79th St. discontinued 12/4/49, when segment south of 79th St. was converted to buses." (John F. Bromley Collection)

Chicago Surface Lines 5241 on 111th Street near Vincennes on August 3, 1947. The sign on the front of the car indicates this was on through route 8. According to http://www.chicagrailfan.com, “Various Through Route combinations existed throughout the early history of this route. Original Through Route operated between Grace/Halsted and 63rd/Stony Island via Halsted and 63rd St. Beginning in 1912, some Halsted service, mainly route 42 Halsted-Downtown service, began operating south of 79th St. via Vincennes and 111th St. to Sacramento, over what now is the 112 route. While for most of through service continuing north on Halsted, the south terminal remained 79th St. Effective 5/24/31, the through Halsted service generally turned around at 111th/Sacramento, with the downtown service generally turning at 79th St. Through service south of 79th St. discontinued 12/4/49, when segment south of 79th St. was converted to buses.” (John F. Bromley Collection)

This July 1963 view shows the Wabash leg of Chicago's Loop "L" between Van Buren and Jackson. We are looking north, so the buildings behind the train of CTA 4000s are on the west side of the street. As you can see by the sign advertising Baldwin pianos and organs, this was once Chicago's "Music Row." The flagship Rose Records location was near here, as were Carl Fischer, the Guitar Gallery, American Music World and many others. The Chicago Symphony is still nearby, but nearly all the other music-related retailers are now gone from this area. You can just catch a glimpse of the iconic Kodak sign that still graces Central Camera under the "L". The old North Shore Line station, which closed about six months before this picture was taken, would have been up the street on the right just out of view. Until 1969 trains operated counterclockwise around the Loop on both tracks, so we are looking at the back end of this Lake Street "B" train. Adams and Wabash station is at the far right of the picture.

This July 1963 view shows the Wabash leg of Chicago’s Loop “L” between Van Buren and Jackson. We are looking north, so the buildings behind the train of CTA 4000s are on the west side of the street. As you can see by the sign advertising Baldwin pianos and organs, this was once Chicago’s “Music Row.” The flagship Rose Records location was near here, as were Carl Fischer, the Guitar Gallery, American Music World and many others. The Chicago Symphony is still nearby, but nearly all the other music-related retailers are now gone from this area. You can just catch a glimpse of the iconic Kodak sign that still graces Central Camera under the “L”. The old North Shore Line station, which closed about six months before this picture was taken, would have been up the street on the right just out of view. Until 1969 trains operated counterclockwise around the Loop on both tracks, so we are looking at the back end of this Lake Street “B” train. Adams and Wabash station is at the far right of the picture.

Enlarging a small section of the slide shows the Kodak sign in front of Central Camera at 230 S. Wabash.

Enlarging a small section of the slide shows the Kodak sign in front of Central Camera at 230 S. Wabash.

Central Camera today. The Kodak sign is still there.

Central Camera today. The Kodak sign is still there.

The corner of Wabash and Jackson today.

The corner of Wabash and Jackson today.

Two of the buildings in the 1963 photograph were torn down to make a parking lot, while the building to their right is still there.

Two of the buildings in the 1963 photograph were torn down to make a parking lot, while the building to their right is still there.

If you are curious about just what a Birney car is, you can read the definitive account by Dr. Harold E. Cox here.

Fort Collins Municipal Railway Birney car 20 in Colorado. There were three lines, and all three cars met in the town center once an hour so riders could transfer. Service ended in 1951, but a portion of one line was restored to service in the 1980s. Don's Rail Photos says, "20 was built by American Car Co. in April 1919, #1184. It was sold in 1951 and moved to the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer in Minden, NE. and has been on static display there ever since." (Joseph P. Saitta Photo)

Fort Collins Municipal Railway Birney car 20 in Colorado. There were three lines, and all three cars met in the town center once an hour so riders could transfer. Service ended in 1951, but a portion of one line was restored to service in the 1980s. Don’s Rail Photos says, “20 was built by American Car Co. in April 1919, #1184. It was sold in 1951 and moved to the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer in Minden, NE. and has been on static display there ever since.” (Joseph P. Saitta 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.

Laurel Line (Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley Railroad) car 37 at the G.E. plant on the Minooka branch on May 9, 1948. The occasion was an ERA (Electric Railroader's Association) fantrip. Nearly all this Scranton, Pennsylvania interurban was third-rail operated on private right-of-way, something it had in common with the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin. Some have wondered if the Laurel Line's fleet of steel cars, which ended service at the end of 1952, could have been used on the CA&E. They appear to have been too long to operate on the Chicago "L" system, but I do not know if such clearance issues would have kept them from running west of Forest Park. As it was, all these cars were scrapped, and ironically, some thought was given later to restoring a CA&E curved-side car as an ersatz Laurel Line replica. Wisely, it was decided against this.

Laurel Line (Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley Railroad) car 37 at the G.E. plant on the Minooka branch on May 9, 1948. The occasion was an ERA (Electric Railroader’s Association) fantrip. Nearly all this Scranton, Pennsylvania interurban was third-rail operated on private right-of-way, something it had in common with the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin. Some have wondered if the Laurel Line’s fleet of steel cars, which ended service at the end of 1952, could have been used on the CA&E. They appear to have been too long to operate on the Chicago “L” system, but I do not know if such clearance issues would have kept them from running west of Forest Park. As it was, all these cars were scrapped, and ironically, some thought was given later to restoring a CA&E curved-side car as an ersatz Laurel Line replica. Wisely, it was decided against this.

The next three photos have been added to our earlier post Chicago’s Pre-PCCs (May 5, 2015):

Scranton Transit 508, an "Electromobile," was built by Osgood-Bradley Co in 1929. It was another attempt at a modern standardized streetcar in the pre-PCC era.

Scranton Transit 508, an “Electromobile,” was built by Osgood-Bradley Co in 1929. It was another attempt at a modern standardized streetcar in the pre-PCC era.

Baltimore Peter Witt 6146. Don's Rail Photos says it was "built by Brill in 1930 and retired in 1955." Sister car 6119 is at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, while 6144 is at Seashore. These were some of the most modern cars around, prior to the PCCs.

Baltimore Peter Witt 6146. Don’s Rail Photos says it was “built by Brill in 1930 and retired in 1955.” Sister car 6119 is at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, while 6144 is at Seashore. These were some of the most modern cars around, prior to the PCCs.

Indianapolis Railways 146, shown here on a special run in 1949, was a Brill "Master Unit" but appears very similar to the Baltimore Peter Witts. This car was built in 1933, one of the last streetcars built before the PCC era. Brill tried to sell street railways on standardized cars (hence the name "Master Units") but as you might expect, no two orders were identical.

Indianapolis Railways 146, shown here on a special run in 1949, was a Brill “Master Unit” but appears very similar to the Baltimore Peter Witts. This car was built in 1933, one of the last streetcars built before the PCC era. Brill tried to sell street railways on standardized cars (hence the name “Master Units”) but as you might expect, no two orders were identical.

We’ve added this next picture to our post Ringing the Bell (December 7, 2015):

Lehigh Valley Transit's Liberty Bell Limited lightweight high-speed car 1001 (ex-Cincinnati & Lake Erie 128) at the 69th Street Terminal on the Philadelphia & Western, September 21, 1949. Soon after this picture was taken, LVT passenger service was cut back to Norristown.

Lehigh Valley Transit’s Liberty Bell Limited lightweight high-speed car 1001 (ex-Cincinnati & Lake Erie 128) at the 69th Street Terminal on the Philadelphia & Western, September 21, 1949. Soon after this picture was taken, LVT passenger service was cut back to Norristown.

PE double-end PCCs 5006 and 5012 at West Hollywood car house on September 8, 1946. These were used on the Glendale-Burbank line, which was "light rail" before the term ever existed. Service was abandoned in 1955 and I'll bet Angelinos wish they had it back today. (Norman Rolfe Photo)

PE double-end PCCs 5006 and 5012 at West Hollywood car house on September 8, 1946. These were used on the Glendale-Burbank line, which was “light rail” before the term ever existed. Service was abandoned in 1955 and I’ll bet Angelinos wish they had it back today. (Norman Rolfe Photo)

Pacific Electric double-end PCC 502x is boarded up for a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Don's Rail Photos says this car was "built by Pullman-Standard in October 1940, #W6642. It was retired in 1956 and was sold as FGU M.1523 and made modifications in 1959. It was retired in short time." You can see some additional pictures of these cars as they appeared in 1959 after being damaged by dripping lime deposits in the damp PE Subway here.

Pacific Electric double-end PCC 502x is boarded up for a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Don’s Rail Photos says this car was “built by Pullman-Standard in October 1940, #W6642. It was retired in 1956 and was sold as FGU M.1523 and made modifications in 1959. It was retired in short time.” You can see some additional pictures of these cars as they appeared in 1959 after being damaged by dripping lime deposits in the damp PE Subway here.

Brilliner 9 on the Red Arrow's Ardmore line in May 1965. About 18 months later, this line was converted to bus.

Brilliner 9 on the Red Arrow’s Ardmore line in May 1965. About 18 months later, this line was converted to bus.

A Septa Bullet car at the Norristown (Pennsylvania) terminal in August 1986.

A Septa Bullet car at the Norristown (Pennsylvania) terminal in August 1986.

Not all Bullets were double-ended, or built for the Philadelphia & Western. Here we see Bamberger Railroad car 125 in Salt Lake City on September 4, 1950. A single-end Bullet car, it originally came from the Fonda Johnstown & Gloversville. Don's Rail Photos says, "125 was built by Brill in 1932, #22961. It was sold as Bamberger RR 125 in 1939 and retired in 1952. The body was sold to Utah Pickle Co." We ran a picture of sister car 129 in our previous post Trolley Dodgers (January 15, 2016).

Not all Bullets were double-ended, or built for the Philadelphia & Western. Here we see Bamberger Railroad car 125 in Salt Lake City on September 4, 1950. A single-end Bullet car, it originally came from the Fonda Johnstown & Gloversville. Don’s Rail Photos says, “125 was built by Brill in 1932, #22961. It was sold as Bamberger RR 125 in 1939 and retired in 1952. The body was sold to Utah Pickle Co.” We ran a picture of sister car 129 in our previous post Trolley Dodgers (January 15, 2016).

Here is another photo of Chicago, Aurora & Elgin wood car 315. Don's Rail Photos says, "315 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1909, #404. It was modernized at an unknown date and sold to Rockhill Trolley Museum in 1962."

Here is another photo of Chicago, Aurora & Elgin wood car 315. Don’s Rail Photos says, “315 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1909, #404. It was modernized at an unknown date and sold to Rockhill Trolley Museum in 1962.”

D. C. Transit 1484 on route 30. Streetcar service in Washington ended in 1962, but recently started up again.

D. C. Transit 1484 on route 30. Streetcar service in Washington ended in 1962, but recently started up again.

Capital Transit Company PCC 1101 in Washington, D. C., with the U. S. Capitol in the background. From the looks of the car in the background, this picture was probably taken in the mid1950s. Don't ask me why there are two different spellings of capitol/capital.

Capital Transit Company PCC 1101 in Washington, D. C., with the U. S. Capitol in the background. From the looks of the car in the background, this picture was probably taken in the mid1950s. Don’t ask me why there are two different spellings of capitol/capital.


WGN's Late Movie "open," seen above, used a simple title image and not the sophisticated graphics of today. If you heard Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" coming out of your TV set in the 1960s or 70s, that most likely meant you were about to watch the Late Movie. (The afternoon "Early Show" movie on our local CBS station WBBM-TV used Leroy Anderson's "The Syncopated Clock" as their theme.) To see a clip of what the Late Movie open looked and sounded like, click here. Take Five was written by Paul Desmond, alto sax player in Brubeck's combo. If you are wondering who the man in the kaleidoscope image is, that's British actor/comedian Terry-Thomas.

WGN’s Late Movie “open,” seen above, used a simple title image and not the sophisticated graphics of today. If you heard Dave Brubeck‘s “Take Five” coming out of your TV set in the 1960s or 70s, that most likely meant you were about to watch the Late Movie. (The afternoon “Early Show” movie on our local CBS station WBBM-TV used Leroy Anderson‘s “The Syncopated Clock” as their theme.) To see a clip of what the Late Movie open looked and sounded like, click here. Take Five was written by Paul Desmond, alto sax player in Brubeck’s combo. If you are wondering who the man in the kaleidoscope image is, that’s British actor/comedian Terry-Thomas.

In the days before 24 hour a day television, most stations went off the air late at night. Some went completely off the air, leaving nothing but static and white noise, while others broadcast test patterns. This was perhaps the most popular type used and should be familiar to anyone of a certain age.

In the days before 24 hour a day television, most stations went off the air late at night. Some went completely off the air, leaving nothing but static and white noise, while others broadcast test patterns. This was perhaps the most popular type used and should be familiar to anyone of a certain age.


Recent Correspondence

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Barry Shanoff writes:

I was born and raised in Chicago, and left in 1975, at age 32, for the Washington, DC area where I have lived ever since. I recently discovered your website, and I enjoy what you have posted.

I have an extensive collection of Chicago transit memorabilia, including vintage CSL, CA&E and CNS&M items, that I am interested in selling. In particular, I have a CTA Rapid Transit sign roll as pictured and described in the attachments to this message.

Rather than posting the items on eBay or consigning them to an auction firm, I’d like to first offer them to Chicago area enthusiasts.

The price sign roll is $325 plus shipping. My guess is that it weighs about four pounds with the mailing tube. Shipping costs will depend on the destination. Best if a would-be buyer contacts me and we complete the arrangements via e-mail or phone.

As for my CTA and interurban material, I don’t have photos of the timetables and brochures, but I can put together a list with prices. Discounts for multi-item purchases. Anyone interested in this or that item can contact me and I will provide a cover photo.

You can contact Barry at: barry_5678@yahoo.com

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Phil Bergen writes:

Big fan of your site, though I’ve only been to Chicago once (1973) and am fascinated by the multiplicity of transit historically and today in Chicago.

Long-time subscriber to First & Fastest. several years ago I wrote to then-editor Roy Benedict suggesting an article for a fictional one-day fan trip around Chicago in a past year of his choice, for an out-of-towner, one that would show a variety of neighborhoods, equipment, and could be done in a day. I created one myself for Boston that ran in Roll Sign.

Mr. Benedict replied with interest in my proposal, but I never heard more about it. With your knowledge and wealth of photos, it might be something to try.

Thanks for your work. I belong to CERA and have enjoyed your PCC book very much. So full of material that it is sometime hard to hold such a tome!!

Glad you like the site and the PCC book. I’ll give your article proposal some thought.

Sometimes these things come together in unusual ways. There are times when I don’t really know what a post is about until it’s finished. Take this one, for example. On the one hand, it’s mainly about night photography, but the additional pictures, oddly enough seem to include quite a lot of preserved equipment, more so than you would expect. You could make quite a list of them. Then again, there are many things in this post that are “paired.” There is a picture of a North Shore car at Roosevelt Road at night, but also one in the day, and so on.

My general idea is to use pictures to tell a story. Often times, the individual pictures are like pieces of a mosaic or jigsaw puzzle. I fiddle around with them and rearrange them until they seem to fit together, and hopefully have some deeper meaning.

My understanding is that Roy Benedict does not have any current involvement with First & Fastest and has not for some years, although naturally I don’t speak for him. The current person to talk to regarding article ideas for that magazine would be Norm Carlson, who does excellent work. It’s a fine publication and sets a high standard for others to follow.

The Chicago PCC book was a labor of love for everyone who collaborated on it. At first, the idea was just for a standard-length picture book, but after we had collected a lot of material, we realized that quite a lot would have to be left out. So, the book grew in length, and at the same time we gradually decided there were other things that needed to go into the book, in order to tell the whole story.

So, the final product is twice standard length, and includes a lot of the history and background material that helps the reader put Chicago’s PCC era into context. It’s somewhere in between a picture book and a more scholarly text, and it seems a very worthwhile addition to the slim shelf of Chicago streetcar books. In the year since its release, it appears to have found an audience.

-David Sadowski

PS- Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks. You can either leave a Comment directly on this post, or contact us at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com


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This is our 142nd 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 171,000 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.

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

We thank you for your support.

Love for Selle

Chicago & North Western loco 608, a 4-6-2, heads an eastbound commuter train at Oak Park Avenue on March 23, 1955. This shows how the wide C&NW embankment made it possible, within a few years, to elevate the outer end of CTA's Lake Street "L". In the process, several close-in C&NW stations were closed. (Bob Selle Photo)

Chicago & North Western loco 608, a 4-6-2, heads an eastbound commuter train at Oak Park Avenue on March 23, 1955. This shows how the wide C&NW embankment made it possible, within a few years, to elevate the outer end of CTA’s Lake Street “L”. In the process, several close-in C&NW stations were closed. (Bob Selle Photo)

The building shown in the previous picture still stands on North Boulevard, just east of Oak Park Avenue, in Oak Park.

The building shown in the previous picture still stands on North Boulevard, just east of Oak Park Avenue, in Oak Park.

The late Robert A. Selle (1929-2013) was a notable railfan photographer who seems to have worked exclusively in black-and-white throughout his career. After his passing, his photo collection was sold, and recently some of his original negatives have hit the open market, where we have been fortunate enough to buy a few of them.

I know there are many people who are only interested in color photography, but personally, I appreciate great black-and-white work every bit as much. If you want to see pictures that date to before the 1940s or 1950s, that pretty much eliminates color. Even then, the early versions of Kodachrome were much more limited in how they could be used– after all, the original film speed was ISO 10.

By comparison, black-and-white films were “high speed” with ratings like 32, 64, or even 100. By the late 1950s, Kodak put out Super-XX which had a film speed of perhaps 200, depending on who you talk to.

We ran a couple of Bob Selle photos in older posts, which we are including here along with the others. We also posted a few some time back on the CERA Members Blog. To find those, just type “Selle” in the search window at the top of the page and the posts that include them will come up.

Anyhow, while I did not know the man personally, all the Bob Selle photos that I have seen have been pretty great, and I hope you think so too. Along with our tribute to Bob Selle, I am including some of our other recent photo finds that you may find interesting.

As always, if you have additional questions, comments, or other information you can add regarding what you see here, don’t hesitate to let us know. You can either leave a Comment on this post, or write us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

In addition to his shutterbug work, Bob Selle was also one of the founding members of the Electric Railway Historical Society, which published 49 important historical publications and preserved several electric railcars that are now at the Illinois Railway Museum. In 2014 I helped put together The Complete ERHS Collection, an E-book that includes all 49 publications. It is available from Central Electric Railfans Assocation.*

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

PS- While in a sense it is a shame that when many railfan photographers pass on, their collections get scattered to the four winds, or determined by the highest bidder, that also presents us with an opportunity to try and collect some of these great images and pass them on to you. How many pictures we can save this way, and the quality of the ones we do present, is largely determined by the amount of financial support we can get from our readers.

*Trolley Dodger Press is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 140th 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 167,000 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.

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In the twilight days of steam, C&NW locomotive 532, a 4-6-2, heads a commuter train in February 1956. Although this negative is marked as having been taken at Euclid Avenue in Oak Park, where UP freight and Metra commuter trains now share space with the CTA's Green Line rapid transit, this certainly looks like it was taken somewhere else at ground level. (Bob Selle Photo) Andre Kristopans: "The CNW “Euclid Ave” shot most likely is about where Kilpatrick Av now crosses the tracks. If one blows up the photo, you see a railroad overpass in the background that certainly looks like the BRC bridge at Kenton. Box cars on right would be on one of the tracks at 40th St Yard, while the lower-level track in foreground would be an industrial lead. Train would be EB."

In the twilight days of steam, C&NW locomotive 532, a 4-6-2, heads a commuter train in February 1956. Although this negative is marked as having been taken at Euclid Avenue in Oak Park, where UP freight and Metra commuter trains now share space with the CTA’s Green Line rapid transit, this certainly looks like it was taken somewhere else at ground level. (Bob Selle Photo) Andre Kristopans: “The CNW “Euclid Ave” shot most likely is about where Kilpatrick Av now crosses the tracks. If one blows up the photo, you see a railroad overpass in the background that certainly looks like the BRC bridge at Kenton. Box cars on right would be on one of the tracks at 40th St Yard, while the lower-level track in foreground would be an industrial lead. Train would be EB.”

CTA salt spreader AA98 was former "Interstate" car 2846, shown here being operated for probably the last time ever on May 25, 1958 at CTA's South Shops. The occasion was a CERA fantrip on the last remaining Chicago streetcar line, so everything old that could run was trotted out for pictures. This car was soon purchased by the Electric Railway Historical Society, and eventually made its way to the Illinois Railway Museum, where it is preserved. (Bob Selle Photo)

CTA salt spreader AA98 was former “Interstate” car 2846, shown here being operated for probably the last time ever on May 25, 1958 at CTA’s South Shops. The occasion was a CERA fantrip on the last remaining Chicago streetcar line, so everything old that could run was trotted out for pictures. This car was soon purchased by the Electric Railway Historical Society, and eventually made its way to the Illinois Railway Museum, where it is preserved. (Bob Selle Photo)

There are a lot of pictures like this, showing CTA PCC 7142 and locomotive L-201 at South Shops on May 25, 1958. This was the occasion of one of the final fantrips on Chicago's last remaining streetcar line, organized by the Central Electric Railfans' Association, which was abandoned less than one month later. 7142 was on its way down to the St. Louis Car Company for scrapping so that parts could be reused in Chicago rapid transit cars. (Bob Selle Photo)

There are a lot of pictures like this, showing CTA PCC 7142 and locomotive L-201 at South Shops on May 25, 1958. This was the occasion of one of the final fantrips on Chicago’s last remaining streetcar line, organized by the Central Electric Railfans’ Association, which was abandoned less than one month later. 7142 was on its way down to the St. Louis Car Company for scrapping so that parts could be reused in Chicago rapid transit cars. (Bob Selle Photo)

CTA two-man arch roof 6141 coing off the south end of the Halsted Street bridge over the Milwaukee Road on November 16, 1953. This car was known as one of the "Odd 17" (actually 19), probably because it did not fit into some other series. Don's Rail Photos says, "6141 was built by American Car Co in February 1918, #1079." (Bob Selle Photo)

CTA two-man arch roof 6141 coing off the south end of the Halsted Street bridge over the Milwaukee Road on November 16, 1953. This car was known as one of the “Odd 17” (actually 19), probably because it did not fit into some other series. Don’s Rail Photos says, “6141 was built by American Car Co in February 1918, #1079.” (Bob Selle Photo)

CTA "Big Pullman" 511 at Lake and Paulina Streets on the Ashland Avenue line on August 26, 1953. (Bob Selle Photo)

CTA “Big Pullman” 511 at Lake and Paulina Streets on the Ashland Avenue line on August 26, 1953. (Bob Selle Photo)

It's the evening rush hour on June 3rd, 1959, and North Shore Line car 161 is on the tail end of a northbound train at Chicago Avenue on the "L". (Bob Selle Photo)

It’s the evening rush hour on June 3rd, 1959, and North Shore Line car 161 is on the tail end of a northbound train at Chicago Avenue on the “L”. (Bob Selle Photo)

The experimental pre-PCC car 4001 ended its days on CTA property as a storage shed. It is shown here at South Shops on December 18, 1955. The body shell of 4001 is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Bob Selle Photo)

The experimental pre-PCC car 4001 ended its days on CTA property as a storage shed. It is shown here at South Shops on December 18, 1955. The body shell of 4001 is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Bob Selle Photo)

The late Bob Selle took this great shot of an outbound Milwaukee Road commuter train leaving Union Station in Chicago on August 8, 1958. These were some of the consists I saw as a child, since I lived very close to what is now the Metra Milwaukee District West Line. Ridership was nothing compared to what it is today, and I believe bi-levels were not introduced here until around 1961-62. That's the Merchandise Mart across the Chicago River. This picture was taken from the Lake Street overpass. That looks like a 1957 Oldsmobile convertible at left.

The late Bob Selle took this great shot of an outbound Milwaukee Road commuter train leaving Union Station in Chicago on August 8, 1958. These were some of the consists I saw as a child, since I lived very close to what is now the Metra Milwaukee District West Line. Ridership was nothing compared to what it is today, and I believe bi-levels were not introduced here until around 1961-62. That’s the Merchandise Mart across the Chicago River. This picture was taken from the Lake Street overpass. That looks like a 1957 Oldsmobile convertible at left.

According to Don's Rail Photos, Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 213 "was built by Cincinnati in March 1920, #2445, as a merchandise dispatch car. In 1940 it was rebuilt as a disc harrow ice cutter. It was retired in 1955 and sold to CHF as their 242. It was donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1964." This photo by the late Bob Selle shows it newly delivered to the Chicago Hardware Foundry in North Chicago on August 7, 1955.

According to Don’s Rail Photos, Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 213 “was built by Cincinnati in March 1920, #2445, as a merchandise dispatch car. In 1940 it was rebuilt as a disc harrow ice cutter. It was retired in 1955 and sold to CHF as their 242. It was donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1964.” This photo by the late Bob Selle shows it newly delivered to the Chicago Hardware Foundry in North Chicago on August 7, 1955.

Caption: "3 cars on North Shore Line northbound at Kenilworth (714 on rear of train), July 13, 1955. This was shortly before the end of service on the Shore Line Route. (Bob Selle Photo) Don's Rail Photos: "714 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1926, #2890. It is modernized in 1939 and preserved in 1963 by the Illinois Railway Museum."

Caption: “3 cars on North Shore Line northbound at Kenilworth (714 on rear of train), July 13, 1955. This was shortly before the end of service on the Shore Line Route. (Bob Selle Photo) Don’s Rail Photos: “714 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1926, #2890. It is modernized in 1939 and preserved in 1963 by the Illinois Railway Museum.”

This looks like a 1952 Chevrolet 4-door Fleetline fastback to me, which would be a somewhat rare model with only a few thousand produced. The fastback, which had enjoyed a brief vogue starting around 1941, was dropped for the 1953 model year.

This looks like a 1952 Chevrolet 4-door Fleetline fastback to me, which would be a somewhat rare model with only a few thousand produced. The fastback, which had enjoyed a brief vogue starting around 1941, was dropped for the 1953 model year.

It's May 30, 1958 and Chicago Surface Lines car 1467 (former CTA salt car AA72) is at the Electric Railway Historical Society site on Plainfield Road in Downer's Grove. Don's Rail Photos says this "Bowling Alley" car "was built by CUTCo in 1900 as CUT 4516. It was rebuilt as 1467 in 1911 and became CSL 1467 in 1914. It was rebuilt as salt car and renumbered AA72 on April 15, 1948. It was retired on February 28, 1958. It was sold to Electric Railway Historical Society in 1959 and went to Illinois Railway Museum in 1973." Actually it must have been sold earlier, as the negative envelope has written on it "owned now by ERHS!" (Bob Selle Photo)

It’s May 30, 1958 and Chicago Surface Lines car 1467 (former CTA salt car AA72) is at the Electric Railway Historical Society site on Plainfield Road in Downer’s Grove. Don’s Rail Photos says this “Bowling Alley” car “was built by CUTCo in 1900 as CUT 4516. It was rebuilt as 1467 in 1911 and became CSL 1467 in 1914. It was rebuilt as salt car and renumbered AA72 on April 15, 1948. It was retired on February 28, 1958. It was sold to Electric Railway Historical Society in 1959 and went to Illinois Railway Museum in 1973.” Actually it must have been sold earlier, as the negative envelope has written on it “owned now by ERHS!” (Bob Selle Photo)

CTA 3025 is running inbound on Elston on June 30, 1949. (Bob Selle Photo) Neil Arsenty adds, "Although this is the Elston Avenue line, this is actually taken at Milwaukee and Kinzie going southeast. The building behind the streetcar still stands at the Northwest corner."

CTA 3025 is running inbound on Elston on June 30, 1949. (Bob Selle Photo) Neil Arsenty adds, “Although this is the Elston Avenue line, this is actually taken at Milwaukee and Kinzie going southeast. The building behind the streetcar still stands at the Northwest corner.”

Milwaukee and Kinzie today.

Milwaukee and Kinzie today.

CTA Pullman 144 is heading southwest on Archer approaching Wentworth on June 15, 1958. This was four years after red cars were retired from active service, and less than a week before the end of all Chicago streetcars. The occasion was a fantrip sponsored by the Electric Railway Historical Society (ERHS). (Bob Selle Photo)

CTA Pullman 144 is heading southwest on Archer approaching Wentworth on June 15, 1958. This was four years after red cars were retired from active service, and less than a week before the end of all Chicago streetcars. The occasion was a fantrip sponsored by the Electric Railway Historical Society (ERHS). (Bob Selle Photo)

On Sunday, September 13, 1953, CTA one-man shuttle car 3175 is on Fifth Avenue at Pulaski (Crawford), the west end of the Fifth Avenue line. This had been a branch line from route 20 - Madison. From this point, the cars looped via Pulaski and Harrison before going back NE on Fifth. The photographer was on the Garfield Park "L" at Pulaski. The "L" was heading east and west at this point, just south of where the Eisenhower expressway is today. This "L" station remained in use until June 1958. Streetcar service on Fifth Avenue continued into early 1954. (Bob Selle Photo)

On Sunday, September 13, 1953, CTA one-man shuttle car 3175 is on Fifth Avenue at Pulaski (Crawford), the west end of the Fifth Avenue line. This had been a branch line from route 20 – Madison. From this point, the cars looped via Pulaski and Harrison before going back NE on Fifth. The photographer was on the Garfield Park “L” at Pulaski. The “L” was heading east and west at this point, just south of where the Eisenhower expressway is today. This “L” station remained in use until June 1958. Streetcar service on Fifth Avenue continued into early 1954. (Bob Selle Photo)

An overview of the Fifth-Pulaski-Harrison area as it appears today. When the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway was built, Fifth Avenue was cut off at this point just out of the right of the picture. The Garfield Park "L", which ran east and west at this point, was replaced by the Congress median rapid transit line in 1958.

An overview of the Fifth-Pulaski-Harrison area as it appears today. When the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway was built, Fifth Avenue was cut off at this point just out of the right of the picture. The Garfield Park “L”, which ran east and west at this point, was replaced by the Congress median rapid transit line in 1958.

On August 9, 1955 CTA wooden "L" car 345 is at the front of a northbound Ravenswood "A" train at Chicago Avenue. (Bob Selle Photo)

On August 9, 1955 CTA wooden “L” car 345 is at the front of a northbound Ravenswood “A” train at Chicago Avenue. (Bob Selle Photo)

Here, we see the lineup at 71st and Ashland on May 23, 1953. From left to rigth, we have CTA 572, sprinklers D-210, D-212, D-203 and 504. (Bob Selle Photo)

Here, we see the lineup at 71st and Ashland on May 23, 1953. From left to rigth, we have CTA 572, sprinklers D-210, D-212, D-203 and 504. (Bob Selle Photo)


Recent Photo Finds

CTA 7095 heads south on State Street on route 36 Broadway-State on August 18, 1954. You can see the Mandel Brothers department store in the background. We discussed this retailer in our previous post Lifting the Lid in the Loop (April 12, 2016), which makes Madison the cross street. Mandel Brothers was bought out by Wieboldt's in 1960, and their store occupied this site into the 1980s. This image was taken on size 828 film, which was meant to be Kodak's answer to 35mm starting in the late 1930s. It offered 8 pictures on a roll, with an image area nearly 30% bigger than 35mm, and had notches in the film so that cameras could use an automatic frame counter/spacer, potentially eliminating the troublesome little red window on the back of the camera. Although Kodak promoted this format in the stylish Art Deco Bantam series of cameras, it did not catch on and 828 film was discontinued by Kodak in 1985. However, the technology behind 828 was later used in the very much more successful 126 cartridge format starting in 1963. It is actually still possible to get 828 film today that has been respooled and cut to size from larger formats.

CTA 7095 heads south on State Street on route 36 Broadway-State on August 18, 1954. You can see the Mandel Brothers department store in the background. We discussed this retailer in our previous post Lifting the Lid in the Loop (April 12, 2016), which makes Madison the cross street. Mandel Brothers was bought out by Wieboldt’s in 1960, and their store occupied this site into the 1980s. This image was taken on size 828 film, which was meant to be Kodak’s answer to 35mm starting in the late 1930s. It offered 8 pictures on a roll, with an image area nearly 30% bigger than 35mm, and had notches in the film so that cameras could use an automatic frame counter/spacer, potentially eliminating the troublesome little red window on the back of the camera. Although Kodak promoted this format in the stylish Art Deco Bantam series of cameras, it did not catch on and 828 film was discontinued by Kodak in 1985. However, the technology behind 828 was later used in the very much more successful 126 cartridge format starting in 1963. It is actually still possible to get 828 film today that has been respooled and cut to size from larger formats.

A comparison of a standard 35mm Kodachrome slide with a "superslide" in 828 film format. At 28x40mm as opposed to 24x36mm, the superslide has a nearly 30% larger surface area. Despite the different style of these two slide mounts, these pictures were taken only about one year apart (left 1956, right 1955). There were also 40x40mm superslides using size 127 roll film, taking up nearly the entire area of a standard 2x2" slide mount, but as far as I know Kodachrome was never made in that format, although Ektachrome certainly was. So, the term superslide can refer to either size 828 or 127 transparencies.

A comparison of a standard 35mm Kodachrome slide with a “superslide” in 828 film format. At 28x40mm as opposed to 24x36mm, the superslide has a nearly 30% larger surface area. Despite the different style of these two slide mounts, these pictures were taken only about one year apart (left 1956, right 1955). There were also 40x40mm superslides using size 127 roll film, taking up nearly the entire area of a standard 2×2″ slide mount, but as far as I know Kodachrome was never made in that format, although Ektachrome certainly was. So, the term superslide can refer to either size 828 or 127 transparencies.

CTA postwar PCC 7236 is shown northbound at Clark and Armitage on Sunday, December 18, 1955 in fantrip service. It was preferable in this period to run fantrips on weekends, since regular service on these lines was now being operated by buses, such as the ones shown in the background. We have run three other photos from this same fantrip in previous posts. Red car 225 was used ahead of this car. Since the trip organizers had advertised that car 144 would be used, they put a piece of oilcloth with that number on it over the Pullman's actual number. I also wrote about this same trip in the post The Old Math (144 = 225) March 13, 2013 on the CERA Members Blog. At that time, I thought the date of the trip was 1956, but a variety of sources since then say it was actually 1955. George Foelschow adds, "The tan building directly behind the car is the North Park Hotel, the apex of the Old Town Triangle, site of the Chandelier Room, where I cast my first vote in 1960, since I lived just south of there on Lincoln Avenue. Sadly, the streetcars and trolley wires were gone by then, and only the tracks remained for a time."

CTA postwar PCC 7236 is shown northbound at Clark and Armitage on Sunday, December 18, 1955 in fantrip service. It was preferable in this period to run fantrips on weekends, since regular service on these lines was now being operated by buses, such as the ones shown in the background. We have run three other photos from this same fantrip in previous posts. Red car 225 was used ahead of this car. Since the trip organizers had advertised that car 144 would be used, they put a piece of oilcloth with that number on it over the Pullman’s actual number. I also wrote about this same trip in the post The Old Math (144 = 225) March 13, 2013 on the CERA Members Blog. At that time, I thought the date of the trip was 1956, but a variety of sources since then say it was actually 1955. George Foelschow adds, “The tan building directly behind the car is the North Park Hotel, the apex of the Old Town Triangle, site of the Chandelier Room, where I cast my first vote in 1960, since I lived just south of there on Lincoln Avenue. Sadly, the streetcars and trolley wires were gone by then, and only the tracks remained for a time.”

CTA one-man prewar PCC 4032 is shown southbound on route 4 - Cottage Grove in the early 1950s, where the line ran parallel to the Illinois Central's electric suburban commuter service.

CTA one-man prewar PCC 4032 is shown southbound on route 4 – Cottage Grove in the early 1950s, where the line ran parallel to the Illinois Central’s electric suburban commuter service.

CTA 7012 at the Narragansett Loop on the west end of route 63. Tony Waller adds, "In image 257, the pre-war PCC must have been photographed in December 1951. All pre-war PCCs were removed from 63rd St. in Spring 1952 and rebuilt for one man operations (with elimination of one of the center doors). They were then assigned to Cottage Grove."

CTA 7012 at the Narragansett Loop on the west end of route 63. Tony Waller adds, “In image 257, the pre-war PCC must have been photographed in December 1951. All pre-war PCCs were removed from 63rd St. in Spring 1952 and rebuilt for one man operations (with elimination of one of the center doors). They were then assigned to Cottage Grove.”

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin wood car 318 under wire on a July 4, 1949 fantrip. The index card with this negative reads: Monitor roof double end steel interurban. Builder: Jewett 1909; Weight 100,000 lbs.; Motors 4 GE 66 HP 500; Seats 52; Length 54' Width 8' 8" Height 13' 6". On the same day, the New York-based Electric Railroader's Association held a Chicago fantrip on south side streetcar lines that were soon to be abandoned. You can see a picture from that trip in our post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Five.

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin wood car 318 under wire on a July 4, 1949 fantrip. The index card with this negative reads: Monitor roof double end steel interurban. Builder: Jewett 1909; Weight 100,000 lbs.; Motors 4 GE 66 HP 500; Seats 52; Length 54′ Width 8′ 8″ Height 13′ 6″. On the same day, the New York-based Electric Railroader’s Association held a Chicago fantrip on south side streetcar lines that were soon to be abandoned. You can see a picture from that trip in our post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Five.

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin wood car 319 heads west, having just left the CTA's Wells Street Terminal, sometime prior to the end of CA&E service downtown in September 1953. This was a stub-end terminal, and the tracks at right curved around to Van Buren and connected to the southwest corner of the Loop "L". In 1955, that connecting track was removed as part of the construction of lower Wacker Drive. A new connection to the Loop was made by extending two tracks through the old Wells Street Terminal, which was by then no longer in use. The CTA's Garfield Park trains continued to use this connection until June 1958, when the Congress median line opened. Parts of the old "L" structure here were not demolished until the early 1960s.

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin wood car 319 heads west, having just left the CTA’s Wells Street Terminal, sometime prior to the end of CA&E service downtown in September 1953. This was a stub-end terminal, and the tracks at right curved around to Van Buren and connected to the southwest corner of the Loop “L”. In 1955, that connecting track was removed as part of the construction of lower Wacker Drive. A new connection to the Loop was made by extending two tracks through the old Wells Street Terminal, which was by then no longer in use. The CTA’s Garfield Park trains continued to use this connection until June 1958, when the Congress median line opened. Parts of the old “L” structure here were not demolished until the early 1960s.

"Congress St. expressway under construction with rapid transit tracks in center strip, October 8, 1955." The Garfield Park "L" tracks, whether temporary or existing, are not visible in this picture. The first tracks in the median line were laid on July 28, 1955 at Pulaski Road, with Mayor Richard J. Daley driving the first spike. Matt Cajda adds, "In the Congress Expressway photo, the elevated Garfield Park tracks look visible to me just above the two bridges over the expressway. This would indicate that the photo could possibly be taken from the Homan Ave. or Kedzie Ave. bridge." Andre Kristopans: "The Congress construction is looking east at Kostner. Remember, Kostner station came later." (Yes, the short-lived Kostner station, built on a curve, opened in 1962 as the result of lobbying by three local aldermen whose wards were nearby. It closed in 1973.)

“Congress St. expressway under construction with rapid transit tracks in center strip, October 8, 1955.” The Garfield Park “L” tracks, whether temporary or existing, are not visible in this picture. The first tracks in the median line were laid on July 28, 1955 at Pulaski Road, with Mayor Richard J. Daley driving the first spike. Matt Cajda adds, “In the Congress Expressway photo, the elevated Garfield Park tracks look visible to me just above the two bridges over the expressway. This would indicate that the photo could possibly be taken from the Homan Ave. or Kedzie Ave. bridge.” Andre Kristopans: “The Congress construction is looking east at Kostner. Remember, Kostner station came later.” (Yes, the short-lived Kostner station, built on a curve, opened in 1962 as the result of lobbying by three local aldermen whose wards were nearby. It closed in 1973.)

This photo was marked as being taken in April 1951. Unfortunately, what the picture shows makes that date impossible. The buildings behind the ground level "L" show that this is Western Avenue at Van Buren, during the 1953-58 rerouting of part of the Garfield Park "L". Red car 473 is on a curve because the tracks are on a shoo-fly while the bridge that would go over the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway was under construction to the left of this view, which looks north. This phase of construction, and the presence of car 473, would imply that this picture actually dates to May 16, 1954, when this car and 479 were used on a CERA "farewell to red cars" fantrip on Chicago's streetcar system. Meanwhile, a two-car train of flat door 6000-series "L" cars (6049-6050), with numbers painted on their roofs, proceeds on the ponderously slow 2.5 mile temporary trackage.

This photo was marked as being taken in April 1951. Unfortunately, what the picture shows makes that date impossible. The buildings behind the ground level “L” show that this is Western Avenue at Van Buren, during the 1953-58 rerouting of part of the Garfield Park “L”. Red car 473 is on a curve because the tracks are on a shoo-fly while the bridge that would go over the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway was under construction to the left of this view, which looks north. This phase of construction, and the presence of car 473, would imply that this picture actually dates to May 16, 1954, when this car and 479 were used on a CERA “farewell to red cars” fantrip on Chicago’s streetcar system. Meanwhile, a two-car train of flat door 6000-series “L” cars (6049-6050), with numbers painted on their roofs, proceeds on the ponderously slow 2.5 mile temporary trackage.

Although CTA postwar PCC 4400 is not front and center in this September 1, 1955 press photograph, taken at Clark and Leland, looking northeast, that is actually part of its charm. This was part of a series showing neighborhood life in Uptown, during a time when streetcars were still a part of everyday life in Chicago. (Ralph Arvidson Photo)

Although CTA postwar PCC 4400 is not front and center in this September 1, 1955 press photograph, taken at Clark and Leland, looking northeast, that is actually part of its charm. This was part of a series showing neighborhood life in Uptown, during a time when streetcars were still a part of everyday life in Chicago. (Ralph Arvidson Photo)

The same location today. Leland is a block south of Lawrence.

The same location today. Leland is a block south of Lawrence.

Chicago Surface Lines "Sedan" (Peter Witt) 6281, southbound on route 22 - Clark-Wentworth, most likely in the late 1930s.

Chicago Surface Lines “Sedan” (Peter Witt) 6281, southbound on route 22 – Clark-Wentworth, most likely in the late 1930s.

CTA 4026 is eastbound on private right-of-way at the west end of route 63.

CTA 4026 is eastbound on private right-of-way at the west end of route 63.

Chicago Surface Lines Brill car 6072 at Kedzie Station on January 28, 1942. (John F. Bromley Collection) I believe this car was built in 1914. You can see part of a Sedan in the background. These were used for fill-in service on Madison along with the prewar PCCs.

Chicago Surface Lines Brill car 6072 at Kedzie Station on January 28, 1942. (John F. Bromley Collection) I believe this car was built in 1914. You can see part of a Sedan in the background. These were used for fill-in service on Madison along with the prewar PCCs.

The interior of CSL Pullman 616 during Surface Lines days. (Joe L. Diaz Collection)

The interior of CSL Pullman 616 during Surface Lines days. (Joe L. Diaz Collection)

CSL 2779 in a wintry scene, probably in the 1940s. The location is unknown, as the roll sign on the car simply reads "Downtown." According to Don's Rail Photos, this car was part of a series known as Robertson Rebuilds, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1903. Don Ross: "These cars were similar to 2501-2625 but were longer and heavier. They were built with McGuire 10-A trucks but were replaced with Brill 51-E-1 trucks in 1918. An additional 20 cars were ordered, 2781-2800, but they were delivered to St Louis & Suburban Ry as 600-619. It replaced most of their cars in a carbarn fire that destroyed most of their equipment." (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Michael Franklin: "Headed south on Damen Ave with Roscoe St. in the distance."

CSL 2779 in a wintry scene, probably in the 1940s. The location is unknown, as the roll sign on the car simply reads “Downtown.” According to Don’s Rail Photos, this car was part of a series known as Robertson Rebuilds, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1903. Don Ross: “These cars were similar to 2501-2625 but were longer and heavier. They were built with McGuire 10-A trucks but were replaced with Brill 51-E-1 trucks in 1918. An additional 20 cars were ordered, 2781-2800, but they were delivered to St Louis & Suburban Ry as 600-619. It replaced most of their cars in a carbarn fire that destroyed most of their equipment.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Michael Franklin: “Headed south on Damen Ave with Roscoe St. in the distance.”

I believe this is CSL car 2811 on the Riverdale line. If so, this car is part of a series (2801-2815) built by St. Louis Car Company in 1901. Don's Rail Photos says, "These cars were built for Chicago City Ry and sold to Calumet & South Chicago Railway in 1908. 2811 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1901 as CCRy 2586. It was sold as C&CS 711 in 1908 and renumbered 2811 in 1913. It became CSL 2811 in 1914." (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Michael Franklin: "Northbound on Indiana Ave turning west on 134th St."

I believe this is CSL car 2811 on the Riverdale line. If so, this car is part of a series (2801-2815) built by St. Louis Car Company in 1901. Don’s Rail Photos says, “These cars were built for Chicago City Ry and sold to Calumet & South Chicago Railway in 1908. 2811 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1901 as CCRy 2586. It was sold as C&CS 711 in 1908 and renumbered 2811 in 1913. It became CSL 2811 in 1914.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Michael Franklin: “Northbound on Indiana Ave turning west on 134th St.”

This photo is supposed to show the traction motor in CTA trolley bus 370. If so, it was built by St. Louis Car Company in 1948. This bus would have been renumbered to 9370 in 1952, to avoid duplication with bus numbers from the Chicago Motor Coach Company, which CTA purchased that year. A while back I asked our readers whether the North Shore Line Electroliner was fitted with trolley bus motors. I don't think I got a definitive answer, although in some sense, a traction motor is a traction motor.

This photo is supposed to show the traction motor in CTA trolley bus 370. If so, it was built by St. Louis Car Company in 1948. This bus would have been renumbered to 9370 in 1952, to avoid duplication with bus numbers from the Chicago Motor Coach Company, which CTA purchased that year. A while back I asked our readers whether the North Shore Line Electroliner was fitted with trolley bus motors. I don’t think I got a definitive answer, although in some sense, a traction motor is a traction motor.

CTA 384, a Pullman, sits at the west end of route 66 at Chicago Avenue and Austin Boulevard. That looks like a West Towns bus across the way in suburban Oak Park in the background.

CTA 384, a Pullman, sits at the west end of route 66 at Chicago Avenue and Austin Boulevard. That looks like a West Towns bus across the way in suburban Oak Park in the background.


Updates

It’s conclusively been shown that the following two “mystery” photos below show the Hammond, Whiting & East Chicago Railway, which operated a through service to Chicago with the Chicago Surface Lines. In its final years, the Indiana half of this operation was under the management of Chicago & Calumet District Transit. Chicago cars ran into Indiana, and Indiana cars ran into Illinois, up until the cessation of streetcar service in 1940. Operators were changed at the state line, and each car had two sets of fare boxes.

According to Don’s Rail Photos:

HW&EC was formed in 1892 in Hammond where 2 miles of track were built. It was then extended through East Chicago and Whiting to the state line and a connection to the South Chicago City Railway. It came under SCCRy control and service was extended to 63rd and Stony Island. In 1901 a fire destroyed the Hammond Packing Co which caused such a financial impact that all but 12 cars were sold. In 1908 the SCCRy merged with the Calumet Electric Street Ry as the Calumet & South Chicago Ry which retained control of the HW&EC. Joint service was maintained using cars of both companies. After World War I the line was plagued by private auto and jitney competition and finally filed for abandonment in 1929. A new company, Calumet Railways was formed, but it failed and was replaced by C&CDT. The Indiana Harbor line was abandoned in 1934 and the remainder of the system on June 9, 1940.

PS- Coincidentally, Frank Hicks has just posted an article called THE INTERSTATE: CSL 2846 and the Streetcar Service to Indiana on the excellent Hicks Car Works blog. It’s well worth reading, and we contributed a couple of pictures as well.

This is a higher-res version of a photo that originally appeared in our post The “Other” Penn Central (May 29, 2016). Bob Lalich writes, "The location of photo csl127 is East Chicago, IN. The road is Indianapolis Blvd and the bridge spans the west leg of the Indiana Harbor Canal. The car is SB."

This is a higher-res version of a photo that originally appeared in our post The “Other” Penn Central (May 29, 2016). Bob Lalich writes, “The location of photo csl127 is East Chicago, IN. The road is Indianapolis Blvd and the bridge spans the west leg of the Indiana Harbor Canal. The car is SB.”

A close-up of the previous photo. This appears to be Chicago and Calumet District car 78, built by American in 1919.

A close-up of the previous photo. This appears to be Chicago and Calumet District car 78, built by American in 1919.

This is a higher-res version of a photo that originally appeared in our post The “Other” Penn Central (May 29, 2016). Bob Lalich writes, "After studying photo csl26 several more times and the HW&EC map in James Buckley’s book I am convinced the location is Schrage Ave near Steiber St in Whiting. The car is SB and the crossing track is the IHB branch which connected to the B&OCT Whiting Branch, seen in the background. Everything fits."

This is a higher-res version of a photo that originally appeared in our post The “Other” Penn Central (May 29, 2016). Bob Lalich writes, “After studying photo csl26 several more times and the HW&EC map in James Buckley’s book I am convinced the location is Schrage Ave near Steiber St in Whiting. The car is SB and the crossing track is the IHB branch which connected to the B&OCT Whiting Branch, seen in the background. Everything fits.”

A close-up of the previous photo. This appears to be Chicago and Calumet District car 78, built by American in 1919.

A close-up of the previous photo. This appears to be Chicago and Calumet District car 78, built by American in 1919.

We previously ran another version of this photograph in our post Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White, Part 3 (March 29, 2015), although that version was cropped somewhat. There, the caption read as follows: CSL 6200 by Hammond Station (car house), 1939. According to Andre Kristopans, this street is called Gostlin. (M.D. McCarter Collection)

We previously ran another version of this photograph in our post Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White, Part 3 (March 29, 2015), although that version was cropped somewhat. There, the caption read as follows: CSL 6200 by Hammond Station (car house), 1939. According to Andre Kristopans, this street is called Gostlin. (M.D. McCarter Collection)

This is a higher-res version of a photo that originally appeared in our post The “Other” Penn Central (May 29, 2016). It shows Chicago Surface Lines prewar PCC 4003 at the Madison-Austin Loop.

This is a higher-res version of a photo that originally appeared in our post The “Other” Penn Central (May 29, 2016). It shows Chicago Surface Lines prewar PCC 4003 at the Madison-Austin Loop.

We now have a nearly complete set of hi-res scans of the CTA Transit News, an employee publication, covering the years from 1947 to 1973. That's an amazing 282 issues in all, on average 24 pages per copy. It's a wealth of information, covering several thousand pages of material, added to our E-Book The “New Look” in Chicago Transit: 1938-1973, available through our Online Store.

We now have a nearly complete set of hi-res scans of the CTA Transit News, an employee publication, covering the years from 1947 to 1973. That’s an amazing 282 issues in all, on average 24 pages per copy. It’s a wealth of information, covering several thousand pages of material, added to our E-Book The “New Look” in Chicago Transit: 1938-1973, available through our Online Store.

These issues of the CTA Transit News are full of interesting tidbits of information contained in theses publications, some of which are not to be found anywhere else.

The June 1956 issue, published 60 years ago, is no exception.

On page 20 of the June 1956 issue, we find the following:

On the preceding day, Sunday, June 17, the Western avenue one-man streetcar line was converted to bus operation… The conversion from streetcars to buses on Western was necessary to clear the way for the City of Chicago to proceed with its program of building vehicular traffic grade separations in heavily used intersections.

That was written 60 years ago, and the grade separation project they refer to was the flyover at Western, Belmont and Clybourn, which opened on November 22, 1961. This was mainly built due to traffic congestion from nearby Riverview amusement park, but that closed after the 1967 season. The flyover has long outlived its usefulness and was recently demolished.

On page 3, we find:

GARFIELD PARK TRACKS RELOCATED AGAIN– HERE’S WHY

In order to speed up construction work on the Congress street expressway, the section of CTA tracks on the Garfield Park line of the rapid transit system from east of Central avenue to Austin boulevard that was relocated last year has again been relocated and will be cut into service sometime in June.

This speed-up program will permit the highway building agencies to prepare simultaneously the permanent right-of-way and necessary facilities for CTA and B & O CT and the Chicago Great Western R. R. operations in this area. Originally the highway building agencies had planned to construct these permanent facilities in two stages, one after the other. This would have consumed considerably more time than the revised plan will require, even though this seems to duplicate the temporary work that was done a year ago.

Both of the temporary routings for CTA operations, as well as CTA permanent right-of-way and station facilities, are being paid for by the public agencies that are constructing the Congress street expressway.

The second relocation project involved the laying of two additional tracks approximately 40 feet to the north between Central avenue and Austin boulevard, It also involved the construction of a new station at Central avenue and alterations to the Austin boulevard station.

Work has already been completed on all operating facilities required for this relocation. The actual cutting in of service is contingent upon completion of new water main facilities through Oak Park and Forest Park.

After CTA service has been diverted to the temporary tracks, the existing CTA tracks will be taken over and used by the other two railroads in accomplishing their temporary relocation.

On page 7, some CTA employees were asked about their plans for the summer. Edward T. Mizerocki, a repairman at Wilson shops, replied:

Since I’m a rail fan, I will devote much of my spare time at the Illinois Electrical (sic) Railway Museum in North Chicago taking a lot of pictures. Another of my aims will be to help restore and preserve old streetcars and other electric railway equipment.

Ed Mizerocki is mentioned a couple of times in the June 2013 issue of Rail and Wire, the magazine of the Illinois Railway Museum, which you can read here.

We salute all those who helped to preserve transit history over the years, whether we know their names or not.

-David Sadowski

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Bonus Feature:

The Bantamweight Division

A compendium of Kodak Bantam cameras and the size 828 roll film they used.

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More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Seven

Pullman-built CTA PCC 4148 southbound at Clark and Thome on May 13, 1950. That is a safety island at right, to protect passengers from errant vehicles. (John D. Koschwanez Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

Pullman-built CTA PCC 4148 southbound at Clark and Thome on May 13, 1950. That is a safety island at right, to protect passengers from errant vehicles. (John D. Koschwanez Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

As a way of saying thank you to our readers, we have decided to pull out all the stops for this, our 125th Trolley Dodger blog post, with a bevy of Chicago PCC photos. We have been saving some up for a while now in anticipation of this milestone, and rather than break this batch into two, we have decided to give them all to you at once. Along with the prewar and postwar Chicago streamliners, we have thrown in a few rare shots of pre-PCCs and even a couple of Sedans as well.

The Sedans are sometimes overlooked, but these 100 cars, built in 1929, were fast and modern, and could have continued to serve alongside the PCCs for some years past their 1952 retirement date. They provided Chicago with a total of 785 modern cars, including the two experimental units.

This is part of a series of Chicago PCC posts, and to see the earlier ones, please use the search window on this page.

I would also like to thank all the photographers (including some of the greats) who took these great photos so that we could enjoy them today. Thanks also to John F. Bromley for sharing some excellent color photos from his vast collection with us.

As we look ahead to what will hopefully be our next 125 posts, keep in mind that “from little trees, do big acorns grow.” Or maybe it was the other way around?

-David Sadowski

PS- These photos are being added to our E-book collection Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available through our Online Store. If you have already purchased a copy, we offer a low-cost updating service. Write us at thetrolleydodger@gmail.com for more details.


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This is our 125th 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 132,000 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.

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New From Trolley Dodger Press:

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American Streetcar R.P.O.s: 1893-1929

Mainline Railway Post Offices were in use in the United States from 1862 to 1978 (with the final year being operated by boat instead of on rails), but for a much briefer era, cable cars and streetcars were also used for mail handling in the following 15 cities*:

Baltimore
Boston
Brooklyn
Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New York City
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Rochester, New York
St. Louis
San Francisco
Seattle
Washington, D.C.


*As noted by some of our readers, this list does not include interurban RPOs.

Our latest E-book American Streetcar R.P.O.s collects 12 books on this subject (over 1000 pages in all) onto a DVD data disc that can be read on any computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free software. All have been out of print for decades and are hard to find. In addition, there is an introductory essay by David Sadowski.

The rolling stock, routes, operations, and cancellation markings of the various American street railway post office systems are covered in detail. The era of the streetcar R.P.O. was relatively brief, covering 1893 to 1929, but it represented an improvement in mail handling over what came before, and it moved a lot of mail. In many places, it was possible to deposit a letter into a mail slot on a streetcar or cable car and have it delivered across town within a short number of hours.

These operations present a very interesting history, but are not well-known to railfans. We feel they deserve greater scrutiny, and therefore we are donating $1 from each sale of this item to the Mobile Post Office Society, in support of their efforts.

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CTA 4409 and 4390 at the beautifully landscaped Western-Berwyn loop on May 13, 1950. (John D. Koschwanez Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 4409 and 4390 at the beautifully landscaped Western-Berwyn loop on May 13, 1950. (John D. Koschwanez Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

Prewar CTA PCC 7020, now converted to one-man operation, is southbound at Western and Maypole in May 1956, about a month before the end of streetcar service on route 49. The prewar cars were used for 364 days on this line. In the back, that is the Lake Street "L", which, oddly enough, does not have a stop on this busy street. (John F. Bromley Collection)

Prewar CTA PCC 7020, now converted to one-man operation, is southbound at Western and Maypole in May 1956, about a month before the end of streetcar service on route 49. The prewar cars were used for 364 days on this line. In the back, that is the Lake Street “L”, which, oddly enough, does not have a stop on this busy street. (John F. Bromley Collection)

Western and Maypole today. We are looking north.

Western and Maypole today. We are looking north.

CTA Sedan 3377, showing the original door configuration, southbound on Cottage Grove at 95th Street on May 6, 1951. (John D. Koschwanez Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA Sedan 3377, showing the original door configuration, southbound on Cottage Grove at 95th Street on May 6, 1951. (John D. Koschwanez Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA Sedans (Peter Witts) 3360 and 3347 are shown here at south Shops in 1952, having been converted to one-man with the removal of some center doors. There were 25 cars so modified, but as far as I know, only one ran in service in this setup. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA Sedans (Peter Witts) 3360 and 3347 are shown here at south Shops in 1952, having been converted to one-man with the removal of some center doors. There were 25 cars so modified, but as far as I know, only one ran in service in this setup. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 4317 on Route 36 Broadway-State in March 1952.

CTA 4317 on Route 36 Broadway-State in March 1952.

CTA 7080 at State and 62nd in June 1950, near the site of the tragic collision between car 7078 and a gasoline truck, which took place on May 25.

CTA 7080 at State and 62nd in June 1950, near the site of the tragic collision between car 7078 and a gasoline truck, which took place on May 25.

The same general area today.

The same general area today.

This picture is a bit blurred due to motion, but it does show prewar CTA PCC in July 1948, heading west at Englewood Union Station, at that time an important train hub. M. E. writes: "Actually, the westbound streetcar is in the process of passing the Englewood Union Station, which is the building on the right. Behind the streetcar is the platform for New York Central and Nickel Plate trains. Behind the photographer is the platform for Rock Island trains. To the right of the station is the platform for Pennsylvania Railroad trains."

This picture is a bit blurred due to motion, but it does show prewar CTA PCC in July 1948, heading west at Englewood Union Station, at that time an important train hub. M. E. writes: “Actually, the westbound streetcar is in the process of passing the Englewood Union Station, which is the building on the right. Behind the streetcar is the platform for New York Central and Nickel Plate trains. Behind the photographer is the platform for Rock Island trains. To the right of the station is the platform for Pennsylvania Railroad trains.”

PCC 4393, "Another New CTA Streetcar," at the 79th and Western loop in 1948.

PCC 4393, “Another New CTA Streetcar,” at the 79th and Western loop in 1948.

According to George Trapp, CTA 7113 "appears to be at Devon Station at the southwest end of the south yard."

According to George Trapp, CTA 7113 “appears to be at Devon Station at the southwest end of the south yard.”

CTA 4031 in the wye at 63rd and Central Park, ready to head east.

CTA 4031 in the wye at 63rd and Central Park, ready to head east.

George Trapp: "CTA 7242 is on Schreiber just west of Clark laying over at the north end of Route 36."

George Trapp: “CTA 7242 is on Schreiber just west of Clark laying over at the north end of Route 36.”

This picture, most likely taken from an "L" platform, gives an excellent view contrasting the roof treatments on these two PCCs. 7203 is at right, in regular service, while the other car is being towed.

This picture, most likely taken from an “L” platform, gives an excellent view contrasting the roof treatments on these two PCCs. 7203 is at right, in regular service, while the other car is being towed.

Pullman-built CTA 4132 at the Madison-Austin loop on July 6, 1949.

Pullman-built CTA 4132 at the Madison-Austin loop on July 6, 1949.

CTA 4358 is on route 8 - Halsted at Congress in June 1952, during construction of the bridge that will go over the Congress expressway. The car at rear is on a shoo-fly.

CTA 4358 is on route 8 – Halsted at Congress in June 1952, during construction of the bridge that will go over the Congress expressway. The car at rear is on a shoo-fly.

CTA 7148 is next to sprinkler/plow D3 at Devon Station on May 16, 1954. D3 was scrapped on December 14, 1956.

CTA 7148 is next to sprinkler/plow D3 at Devon Station on May 16, 1954. D3 was scrapped on December 14, 1956.

Here is a rare shot of CSL experimental pre-PCC 7001 at 81st and Halsted, most likely in the 1930s.

Here is a rare shot of CSL experimental pre-PCC 7001 at 81st and Halsted, most likely in the 1930s.

In this November 1945 view at Kedzie Station (car barn), six cars in experimental paint schemes are lined up. From left, we have 4050, 4020, 4022, 4035, 4010, and 4018. To see what the color schemes were, go to page 12 of CERA Bulletin 146. (CSL Photo)

In this November 1945 view at Kedzie Station (car barn), six cars in experimental paint schemes are lined up. From left, we have 4050, 4020, 4022, 4035, 4010, and 4018. To see what the color schemes were, go to page 12 of CERA Bulletin 146. (CSL Photo)

A side view of the six experimental CSL paint schemes in November 1945. (CSL Photo)

A side view of the six experimental CSL paint schemes in November 1945. (CSL Photo)

Again, the six experimental paint schemes at Kedzie and Van Buren in November 1945. The eventual choice for the new postwar PCCs was not exactly like any of these, but fairly close to one. (CSL Photo)

Again, the six experimental paint schemes at Kedzie and Van Buren in November 1945. The eventual choice for the new postwar PCCs was not exactly like any of these, but fairly close to one. (CSL Photo)

CSL 7003 in front of the old Chicago & North Western station on Madison on July 25, 1939. In an earlier post, we have another picture of the same car at nearly the same location, taken around this time, but it has a different run number. (Charles A. Brown Photo)

CSL 7003 in front of the old Chicago & North Western station on Madison on July 25, 1939. In an earlier post, we have another picture of the same car at nearly the same location, taken around this time, but it has a different run number. (Charles A. Brown Photo)

CSL 7001 on route 22 at Clark and Adams. The Banker's Building at rear, now known as the Clark-Adams building, is located at 105 W. Adams. 476 feet tall, it is the tallest building ever built in Chicago to be clad entirely in brick. It was built in 1927 and this photo was probably taken in the 1930s.

CSL 7001 on route 22 at Clark and Adams. The Banker’s Building at rear, now known as the Clark-Adams building, is located at 105 W. Adams. 476 feet tall, it is the tallest building ever built in Chicago to be clad entirely in brick. It was built in 1927 and this photo was probably taken in the 1930s.

CSL 4037 is at Madison and Laramie. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 4037 is at Madison and Laramie. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Brand-new PCC 7003 at Kedzie and Van Buren on November 23, 1936. (General Electric Photo)

Brand-new PCC 7003 at Kedzie and Van Buren on November 23, 1936. (General Electric Photo)

CSL 4098 at South Shops on January 8, 1947. (General Electric Photo)

CSL 4098 at South Shops on January 8, 1947. (General Electric Photo)

CSL 7029 at Madison and Austin on July 16, 1938. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

CSL 7029 at Madison and Austin on July 16, 1938. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

CSL 4051 at Kedzie and Van Buren on May 24, 1939. This is part of a series of photos of this car taken by CSL, possibly in preparation for the experimental modification of the doors on this car in 1940-41. This car helped determine the door arrangement used on the postwar PCCs. You will find another picture from this series in one of our earlier posts.

CSL 4051 at Kedzie and Van Buren on May 24, 1939. This is part of a series of photos of this car taken by CSL, possibly in preparation for the experimental modification of the doors on this car in 1940-41. This car helped determine the door arrangement used on the postwar PCCs. You will find another picture from this series in one of our earlier posts.

CSL 4051 is shown at Kedzie and Van Buren with an experimental door arrangement, which was tested on the busy Milwaukee Avenue car line. We ran another version of this same photo in a previous post, but this one has less cropping. (CSL Photo)

CSL 4051 is shown at Kedzie and Van Buren with an experimental door arrangement, which was tested on the busy Milwaukee Avenue car line. We ran another version of this same photo in a previous post, but this one has less cropping. (CSL Photo)

CSL 4051 at Madison and Austin, always a favorite spot for photographers. This photo was probably taken circa 1945-46 and by this time, the car had been returned to its original door arrangement. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 4051 at Madison and Austin, always a favorite spot for photographers. This photo was probably taken circa 1945-46 and by this time, the car had been returned to its original door arrangement. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 4051 at Milwaukee and Central on August 4, 1940, during the door arrangement test. This was the only PCC to run in regular service on route 56 - Milwaukee. (Frank E. Butts Collection)

CSL 4051 at Milwaukee and Central on August 4, 1940, during the door arrangement test. This was the only PCC to run in regular service on route 56 – Milwaukee. (Frank E. Butts Collection)

CTA 4120 eastbound at Madison and Franklin circa 1952-53. The newspaper trucks are advertising Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, then at the height of their popularity on I Love Lucy. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

CTA 4120 eastbound at Madison and Franklin circa 1952-53. The newspaper trucks are advertising Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, then at the height of their popularity on I Love Lucy. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

CTA 4106 at the same location. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

CTA 4106 at the same location. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

CTA 4071 at Madison and Franklin, circa 1952-53. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

CTA 4071 at Madison and Franklin, circa 1952-53. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

Since CTA 4109 is westbound in this Loop photo, it is most likely on either Dearborn, Washington, Franklin, or Monroe. (Eastbound cars used Madison.)

Since CTA 4109 is westbound in this Loop photo, it is most likely on either Dearborn, Washington, Franklin, or Monroe. (Eastbound cars used Madison.)

CTA 4125 is eastbound at Harrison and Fifth Avenue. We posted a different picture taken at this location here. This car was on the Madison-Fifth branch line on route 20. Oddly enough, streetcar service on the branch line lasted longer than the main line. The building behind the streetcar is the Kux Machine Company, located at 3924-44 W. Harrison St. We are facing west, and everything on the right side of the picture was cleared away in the early 1950s to build the Congress (Eisenhower) expressway. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

CTA 4125 is eastbound at Harrison and Fifth Avenue. We posted a different picture taken at this location here. This car was on the Madison-Fifth branch line on route 20. Oddly enough, streetcar service on the branch line lasted longer than the main line. The building behind the streetcar is the Kux Machine Company, located at 3924-44 W. Harrison St. We are facing west, and everything on the right side of the picture was cleared away in the early 1950s to build the Congress (Eisenhower) expressway. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

The same location today. Fifth Avenue is cut off by the expressway, probably because it would have crossed at an angle and wasn't considered that major of a street. It only goes just over a mile west of here anyway. Fifth Avenue has also been truncated at Madison Street, reducing its importance even further.

The same location today. Fifth Avenue is cut off by the expressway, probably because it would have crossed at an angle and wasn’t considered that major of a street. It only goes just over a mile west of here anyway. Fifth Avenue has also been truncated at Madison Street, reducing its importance even further.

This photo was marked as being at Cottage Grove and 103rd, but it is actually at 113th. By blowing up the image, I was able to read the street signs. CTA prewar car 4050 is shown in May 1953, after having been converted to one-man.

This photo was marked as being at Cottage Grove and 103rd, but it is actually at 113th. By blowing up the image, I was able to read the street signs. CTA prewar car 4050 is shown in May 1953, after having been converted to one-man.

Cottage Grove and 113th today.

Cottage Grove and 113th today.

CTA 4101 heads east on Madison after having crossed the Chicago River during construction of Lower Wacker Drive. That's the former Chicago Daily News building at rear. The date is July 4, 1951.

CTA 4101 heads east on Madison after having crossed the Chicago River during construction of Lower Wacker Drive. That’s the former Chicago Daily News building at rear. The date is July 4, 1951.

In this July 4, 1951 photo taken on Madison near Wacker, car 4132 is described as having a new paint job, the upper portion of which was different than any other car. There is a color picture of it in one of our previous posts.

In this July 4, 1951 photo taken on Madison near Wacker, car 4132 is described as having a new paint job, the upper portion of which was different than any other car. There is a color picture of it in one of our previous posts.

This picture of 7001 at Clark and Schreiber, with Devon Station at left, was taken just a few seconds after one you will find here. The pre-PCC car is in the same position in both shots but the automobile at left has pulled up in the other photo. That version gives the photo credit to R. J. Anderson, while this one gives the date-- February 29, 1940. The car's colors are listed as their original silver and green.

This picture of 7001 at Clark and Schreiber, with Devon Station at left, was taken just a few seconds after one you will find here. The pre-PCC car is in the same position in both shots but the automobile at left has pulled up in the other photo. That version gives the photo credit to R. J. Anderson, while this one gives the date– February 29, 1940. The car’s colors are listed as their original silver and green.

CSL's other experimental pre-PCC was streamlined car 4001, shown here at South Shops in 1936. Its colors are described as silver and blue. This car's aluminum body shell is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union.

CSL’s other experimental pre-PCC was streamlined car 4001, shown here at South Shops in 1936. Its colors are described as silver and blue. This car’s aluminum body shell is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union.

This picture is a bit blurred due to motion, but it does show prewar CTA PCC in July 1948, heading west after having just passed Englewood Union Station, at that time an important train hub.

This picture is a bit blurred due to motion, but it does show prewar CTA PCC in July 1948, heading west after having just passed Englewood Union Station, at that time an important train hub.

Although CSL prewar car 7008 is signed for Madison-Fifth, this photo appears to show the Madison-Austin loop. PCCs are probably being phased in late 1936 or early 1937, as evidenced by the older cars in the photo. Once the route was equipped with 83 PCCs, they still required a number of the fast 1929 Sedans to fill out the schedules. Those buildings in back are still there today. Maybe it's just a pull-in heading back to Kedzie Station. The car still has some shine on it.

Although CSL prewar car 7008 is signed for Madison-Fifth, this photo appears to show the Madison-Austin loop. PCCs are probably being phased in late 1936 or early 1937, as evidenced by the older cars in the photo. Once the route was equipped with 83 PCCs, they still required a number of the fast 1929 Sedans to fill out the schedules. Those buildings in back are still there today. Maybe it’s just a pull-in heading back to Kedzie Station. The car still has some shine on it.

The houses behind the Madison-Austin loop as they appear today.

The houses behind the Madison-Austin loop as they appear today.

CSL 4044 at Madison and Austin. The picture is dated 1941, but the "tiger stripes" on the car at rear would indicate it may be more like 1945-46.

CSL 4044 at Madison and Austin. The picture is dated 1941, but the “tiger stripes” on the car at rear would indicate it may be more like 1945-46.

CTA 4406, a product of St. Louis Car Company, in charter service on Clark Street north of Cermak Road, October 21, 1956. This may or may not be the same photo we posted here, it's hard to tell. However, this was apparently a photo stop on a fantrip where the PCC followed red Pullman 225, and it's likely there were a bunch of people taking this same photo. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

CTA 4406, a product of St. Louis Car Company, in charter service on Clark Street north of Cermak Road, October 21, 1956. This may or may not be the same photo we posted here, it’s hard to tell. However, this was apparently a photo stop on a fantrip where the PCC followed red Pullman 225, and it’s likely there were a bunch of people taking this same photo. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

In this August 1955 view, CTA 7106 is apparently heading northbound on route 36 - Broadway-State. Andre Kristopans adds, "7106 is NB at State and 91st about to go under C&WI/BRC/RI bridges. Note how street slopes downward. Everything on the right is gone, replaced by Dan Ryan Expressway." (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

In this August 1955 view, CTA 7106 is apparently heading northbound on route 36 – Broadway-State. Andre Kristopans adds, “7106 is NB at State and 91st about to go under C&WI/BRC/RI bridges. Note how street slopes downward. Everything on the right is gone, replaced by Dan Ryan Expressway.” (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

State and 91st today. We are looking south.

State and 91st today. We are looking south.

CTA 4203 at the Vincennes and 80th loop on May 20, 1951.

CTA 4203 at the Vincennes and 80th loop on May 20, 1951.

CTA 4228 at the Vincennes and 80th loop on May 20, 1951.

CTA 4228 at the Vincennes and 80th loop on May 20, 1951.

The location of the 80th and Vincennes loop today.

The location of the 80th and Vincennes loop today.

PS- Here is a short video showing Chicago PCCs in action in 1955-56. While this also purports to show red Pullman #144, it’s actually a fantrip with 225. Since the trip organizers had advertised that 144 would be used, they placed a piece of oilcloth with 144 on it over the car’s actual number. Fortunately, both cars were preserved, 144 at the Illinois Railway Museum and 225 at the Seashore Trolley Museum.

Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Seven

CSL Sedan 6317 at 10559 South Ewing. That bus at right is on the 103rd Street route. That's the old Eastside Theater behind the streetcar. According to Cinema Treasures, "The Eastside Theater opened in 1922, at Ewing Avenue between 105th Street and 106th Street, in the East Side neighborhood of Chicago, not far from the Illinois-Indiana border. The Eastside Theater closed in 1951. Today, a bank is located on the site of the Eastside Theater, in a building dating from the late-1970’s." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL Sedan 6317 at 10559 South Ewing. That bus at right is on the 103rd Street route. That’s the old Eastside Theater behind the streetcar. According to Cinema Treasures, “The Eastside Theater opened in 1922, at Ewing Avenue between 105th Street and 106th Street, in the East Side neighborhood of Chicago, not far from the Illinois-Indiana border. The Eastside Theater closed in 1951. Today, a bank is located on the site of the Eastside Theater, in a building dating from the late-1970’s.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

The same location today.

The same location today.

Here is another generous helping of classic Chicago streetcar photos from the latter part of the CSL era as well as the early days of its successor, the Chicago Transit Authority.

As always, if you can help identify locations, or have interesting facts or reminiscences to add, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. You can leave comments on this post, or write us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

FYI, there will be additional posts in this series coming up in the near future, so watch this space. To see previous posts, use the search window on this page.

-David Sadowski


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New From Trolley Dodger Press:

P1060517

American Streetcar R.P.O.s: 1893-1929

Mainline Railway Post Offices were in use in the United States from 1862 to 1978 (with the final year being operated by boat instead of on rails), but for a much briefer era, cable cars and streetcars were also used for mail handling in the following 15 cities*:

Baltimore
Boston
Brooklyn
Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New York City
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Rochester, New York
St. Louis
San Francisco
Seattle
Washington, D.C.


*As noted by some of our readers, this list does not include interurban RPOs.

Our latest E-book American Streetcar R.P.O.s collects 12 books on this subject (over 1000 pages in all) onto a DVD data disc that can be read on any computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free software. All have been out of print for decades and are hard to find. In addition, there is an introductory essay by David Sadowski.

The rolling stock, routes, operations, and cancellation markings of the various American street railway post office systems are covered in detail. The era of the streetcar R.P.O. was relatively brief, covering 1893 to 1929, but it represented an improvement in mail handling over what came before, and it moved a lot of mail. In many places, it was possible to deposit a letter into a mail slot on a streetcar or cable car and have it delivered across town within a short number of hours.

These operations present a very interesting history, but are not well-known to railfans. We feel they deserve greater scrutiny, and therefore we are donating $1 from each sale of this item to the Mobile Post Office Society, in support of their efforts.

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.95


CSL 702, shown here in 1951, was built by the Pressed Steel Car Company in 1909. The photo caption describes this as being the last car left in the 701-750 series. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo) Andre Kristopans: "750 is at South Shops, on what would be 78th St just east of Vincennes."

CSL 702, shown here in 1951, was built by the Pressed Steel Car Company in 1909. The photo caption describes this as being the last car left in the 701-750 series. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo) Andre Kristopans: “750 is at South Shops, on what would be 78th St just east of Vincennes.”

Westbound car 3109 crosses the 18th Street bridge. This CSL Safety Car, also known as a Sewing Machine(?), was built by CSL in 1922. It was scrapped in 1948. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Westbound car 3109 crosses the 18th Street bridge. This CSL Safety Car, also known as a Sewing Machine(?), was built by CSL in 1922. It was scrapped in 1948. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Blue Island car 3111 on the 18th Street line, at about 1738 West. (Joe L. Diaz Collection) Andre Kristopans: "3111 is on 18th Street WB, just west of Halsted where 18th had a major jog to the south. Leavitt/Blue Island was the west end of the 18th line."

Blue Island car 3111 on the 18th Street line, at about 1738 West. (Joe L. Diaz Collection) Andre Kristopans: “3111 is on 18th Street WB, just west of Halsted where 18th had a major jog to the south. Leavitt/Blue Island was the west end of the 18th line.”