Reader Showcase, 9-9-2018

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)

This post features many great contributions from our readers that we hope you will enjoy. Our sincere thanks go out to Larry Sakar, Miles Beitler, Jack Bejna, Jeffrey Haertlein, Kathryn Boyer, and Mitch Markovitz.

-David Sadowski

PS- Happy 88th birthday to two of my uncles, Raymond and Robert Wakefield, fraternal twins born September 10, 1930. They are my late mother’s younger brothers.

I hope they each have a wonderful day.

According to my mother’s memoirs, they were both first day riders on the new Chicago subway, which opened on October 17, 1943, nearly 75 years ago. My new book Building Chicago’s Subways, which will be released on October 1st, tells the story of how this came to be.

Larry Sakar writes:

Hi Dave,

Recently you asked if car 66 was the used for the last run to Hales Corners and back on MRT’s (Speedrail) last day, 6-30-51. As I said, the 66 did make at least one round trip to Hales Corners that day. The first photo I am attaching shows it westbound at 85th St. The water tower in the background is at N. 84th St. The 84th St. stop on the Rapid Transit Line was adjacent to it. The tower is still there today. No trace of the station or the right of way exists. Car 66 would be adjacent to the present day Honey Creek business park which would be at right.

As I also mentioned car 63 made the last round trip to Hales Corners and back shortly before midnight. Here we see it earlier in the evening of 6-30-51. In the second photo the motorman has just called for orders at the call in booth you see at right It was adjacent to the West Jct. stop just beyond the platform on the single track .

In the last photo car 63 has turned on Hillcrest loop and is laying over before returning to Milwaukee. Note some of photographer Robert Townley’s equipment sitting on the platform. The poor motorman looks rather forlorn. As of tomorrow 7-1-51 he will be unemployed.

The Hales Corners station was located on the southeast corner of Highway 100 (S.108th St.) and W. Janesville Rd. (Hwy. 24). The northbound curb lane of Highway 100 now occupies the former r.o.w. Except for the power lines, no traces of the line can be found today. The Hales Corners loop which was located about a half mile or so southwest of the station is now the site of a Menards store. For anyone unfamiliar with Menards, it’s a home improvement chain like Home Depot.

These photos and others including the last round trip to Waukesha were taken by Robert Townley. His capture of Speedrail’s last day were somewhat of an unplanned event. Remember this was during the height of the Korean War and guys were being drafted or were enlisting. Bob had enlisted in the Navy in order to avoid being drafted into the Army. His enlistment point was somewhere south of Chicago but definitely not Great Lakes Naval Training Station. I have forgotten where he said it was located.

Anyway, Bob was in Council Bluffs, Iowa taking pictures of whatever traction system they had in that city. He happened to overhear a couple of railfans mention that the next day 6-30-51 was Speedrail’s last. He had planned to visit Milwaukee later on, but now that Speedrail was about to shut down it became a priority. The next day he boarded a bus for Peoria, Illinois where he caught the Rock Island’s Peoria Rocket for Chicago. Upon arriving in Chicago in the afternoon he made his way to the Adams & Wabash “L” station where he took the next North Shore train to Milwaukee. He arrived in the late afternoon and headed from the NSL station at 6th & Michigan to the Public Service Building. He rode the trip to Hales Corners you see photographed. I’m sure he took either a Hales Corners local or a West Jct. train and got off at 84th St. which is how he was able to capture car 66 bound for Hales Corners.

One other interesting coincidence. Bob, who is from Columbia, CA. (that’s in Gold Rush country east of Sacramento) met up with another Milwaukee traction fan/photographer – Don Ross! It was while both men were serving in Korea. Small world!

I mentioned the Hales Corners station site at Highway 100 & Janesville Rd. I took the attached photo around 1995 but it really doesn’t look much different today. You are looking north along Highway 100. The curb lane is where the TM r.o.w. would have been.

The station stood right in front of the traffic light you see center right. Janesville Rd. was only a two lane highway in the days of TM and Speedrail. Where you see the car on the right edge of the photo there was only grass. Where you see the two cars across from it was the extent of Janesville Rd. back then. None of the buildings behind those two cars were there then either. The grassy median you see dividing the north and south lanes of Highway 100 was also not there back then. The highway consisted of the lane where you see the dark colored car passing the second light pole on the left, and the lanes on the other side of that median.

Today there is no transit service to this area. At one time MCTS Rt 28-Highway 100 did go all the way to Hales Corners. Subsequent budget cuts saw it cut back to the MCTS Hales Corners Park ‘n’ Ride lot which ironically is not in Hales Corners!

For anyone confused, highway 100 goes by three different names, depending what part of it you’re traveling on. It is S. 108th St. to the point that south streets end and north streets begin. Then, it’s technically N. 108th St. It is Highway 100 from Franklin which is south of Hales Corners to Wauwatosa and Brown Deer. At that point, Highway 100 becomes an east-west and it is also known as Brown Deer Rd. On the far south side, it also turns to running east-west and it is Ryan Rd., the same Ryan Rd. crossed by the North Shore Line (but way, way east in the suburb of Oak Creek). The idea was to make it a sort of belt line highway around Milwaukee. Want more confusion? Through parts of Wauwatosa, it is also known as Lovers Lane Rd.

Larry

PS- Here are three additional pictures of the TM Watertown line abandoned r.o.w. from the point where street running in Oconomowoc ended and the p.r.o.w. heading for Watertown began. The one looking east to where eastbound trains entered the street on Oconomowoc’s west side was taken to try and match the picture of the same spot on p.261 of the TM book. I took these in the summer of 1976.

Abandoned TM r.o.w. heading toward Watertown from Oconomowoc in 1976.

Abandoned TM r.o.w. heading toward Watertown from Oconomowoc in 1976.

Abandoned TM r.o.w. heading west from end of street running in Oconomowoc in 1976.

Abandoned TM r.o.w. heading west from end of street running in Oconomowoc in 1976.

TM r.o.w. entering street on west side of Oconomoc, looking east in 1976.

TM r.o.w. entering street on west side of Oconomoc, looking east in 1976.

Miles Beitler writes:

Here are a couple of Chicago and North Western photos that I took in the late 1970s or early 1980s at the old Dee Road station in Park Ridge. The old station was torn down and moved one block west some time in the 1990s. (Editor’s note: Bill Wulfert says the new station was dedicated in 2006- see his Comment below.)

I located a few more photos but unfortunately only one has a locomotive in view. The rest only show tracks or stations. I’ll keep looking — maybe I can find more.

The two Metra photos show the Amtrak/Milwaukee District tracks approaching Union Station. The photo of the Lake Street L was taken near Lake and Des Plaines on the near west side. All of these photos were taken circa March 2001.

The shots of the downtown Des Plaines C&NW station are late 1970s (pre-Metra) and although no trains are shown, the photos show the tracks running through the station as well as two buses (one Nortran and the second RTA) across the street. Both bus operators later were merged into the PACE suburban bus system.

Jack Bejna writes:

In my continuing search for CA&E photos and information I came across this interesting item from the John Stephenson Company describing quite a ride with brand new CA&E Car 32.

Here is another batch of Michigan photos. I believe these photos were taken circa 1921 as they were in the notebooks containing DUR photographs used for an audit for an upcoming fare increase request.

These photos don’t include the location where they were taken, and again, since I’m not familiar with Michigan towns and cities, I don’t have any idea where the pictures were taken, with some exceptions. It is interesting that many non-DUR photos were in the notebooks; perhaps the photographer was a railfan!

As far as I know the DUR triple car 5000 was unique, and it was used to accommodate large numbers of Ford employees at shift change.

The Benton Harbor & St Joseph photos are not the best but I’ve included several shots taken in winter. As you can see, the BH&StJ served the Graham & Morton Steamship Lines, but the steamship business was not enough to maintain the line and it quit in the mid-thirties.

I hope that readers of your fine blog may help to identify locations of some of the photographs.

Detroit United Railway

Benton Harbor & St Joseph Railway

Jeffrey Haertlein writes:

The Wisconsin Dells MINIRAMA was an O scale layout in operation as a tourist attraction from 1960 thru 1969. It was a great train layout, one in which I marveled at for decades, even after it closed.

Long story short, after many years I was able to purchase quite a bit of it starting in 2005. It was sold to a guy in Milwaukee (130 mi.), and now a good amount of it is only 15 miles away from where it started.

I’ll attach a few pictures of the attraction. Sure wish I could find more of it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kathryn Boyer writes:

I am an art historian, and I am trying to find someone who knows enough about trains of the 1930s to help with some specific information related to the Edward Hopper painting Compartment C, Car 193, painted in 1938. (See above.)

After looking at some websites and a YouTube clip with John Smatlak, it seems as though the painting rather accurately presents many of the features of a McKeever Pullman Sleeper. The lamp in the corner does not seem to correspond to any of the images I’ve seen, but the other elements are fairly similar.

I was wondering if someone is able to pinpoint more specifically
– the train(s)/cars that this image most closely represents
– when it was first made
– how long it was out in circulation
-and what do you notice in the painting that deviates from actuality?
That is, basic information about the train/car.

But I’m also wondering if you know if there is a place to seek out information about facts such as
– how much would a ticket on this train/in this car cost (including the sleeping berth)?

Also, are you aware of any information put together or research done on the profiles of passengers of this era, for example, the number of men and women and their socio-economic status.

I appreciate any leads or directions as well as photos and documents that you can provide.

I am no expert on Pullman sleepers, but let’s hope some of our readers can help you out, thanks.

I posted this picture to Facebook, and this led to some discussion with Mitch Markovitz. He is an accomplished artist who has been researching both Edward Hopper and the Pullman Company for the last 60 years.  Here is what Mitch has to say:

As a railroad historian, and with Edward Hopper’s work having a great influence on my own i can say this. Hopper would never fly anywhere. His wife, Josephine, complained that on trips he spent much time in railroad yards painting engines. He has several great works that include Pullman equipment including “Pennsylvania Morning.” In most of his works his model was his wife. This is just your standard Pullman section sleeper of the time. Once during one of his only TV interviews he was on a Sunday morning program on Boston Public Television being interviewed by Brian O’Dougherity. Brian asked Hopper, “We noticed you came up to Boston by train today (instead of flying.) Isn’t that a bit old fashioned?” Hopper looked down for a moment, thought, and then replied, “No. It isn’t. I just didn’t feel like dying this morning.”

The art historian wants to know what the factual basis is for the painting, whether the artist made any changes… how much a train ticket would have cost, and the socio-economic status of train travelers in the 1930s.

The factual basis would be one of Hopper’s many trips by rail in a standard sleeping car. This accommodation, the section, was the least expensive one available. Used by people of middle income. This type of car would have had one or two “drawing rooms” at one end. More expensive priced accommodations for people that expected more privacy. A traveler in a section sleeper would have to use a general washroom at each end of the car for both shaving and brushing of teeth in the morning, and for the other prerequisites. Traveling salesmen used sections a lot. A traveler would pay the first class railroad fare, and then the appropriate Pullman accommodation fare in a separate ticket between the two stations. If one were to travel on a premiere train and desired a shower and the services of a barber they were available in the club car, front of the train. Please keep asking questions, I’m happy to answer.

Is this something that the average person could afford back then?

In general yes. But during the depression it would depend on the definition of “average.” In this era we saw the rise of the “All coach train.” The section sleeper was the bottom of services. If one were to travel on say the “Twentieth Century Limited,” with a premium schedule, a premium dining car, and a barber shop with a shower one would pay the rail fare, the Pullman accommodation fare, and then, on top an “extra fare,” which in today’s dollars would be an additional $100 or so. A successful artist who lived in a 4th floor walk-up apartment, and had a small cottage on Martha’s Vineyard could afford this accommodation. (Hopper was cheap by the way.)

“Pennsylvania Hotel,” 20″x30″ Pastel on sand paper, 1989. One of my works that people compare to those of Hopper.

The car depicted would be of heavyweight construction before streamliners. Into the late 1930s all private rooms began to rise in popularity aboard streamlined (modern) trains. Pictured below is a standard Pullman sleeper. There were the Pullman Manufacturing Company, who built many types of railroad cars, and “The PULLMAN Company,” who owned, operated, and maintained sleeping, parlor, lounge, and restaurant cars. Both companies were part of Pullman Inc.

Thanks… did Hopper, in this painting, change anything in the interior of the sleeping car for artistic license?

Everything seen is correct. Including the interior color. The only thing I could mention is the lamp. The shade would have had a golden yellow-orange color to it on a brass or bronze colored fixture.

From www.edwardhopper.net:

Hopper also took an interest in cars and trains. It is a pity he didn’t live long into the jet age, though we sense his shadow in many contemporary works. The artist was drawn to the introspective mood that travelling seems to put us into. He captured the atmosphere in half-empty carriages making their way across a landscape: the silence that reigns inside while the wheels beat in rhythm against the rails outside, the dreaminess fostered by the noise and the view from the windows – a dreaminess in which we seem to stand outside our normal selves and have access to thoughts and memories that may not emerge in more settled circumstances. The woman in Hopper’s Compartment C Car 1938 seems in such a frame of mind, reading her book and shifting her gaze between the carriage and the view.

Hopper’s people give the impression of being people attempting to escape something. They are involved in themselves and cannot seem to get their lives straight. They escape the society of others, and would like to escape themselves. They are not really at home anywhere, neither in a room nor outside, neither at work nor at play, neither alone nor with others. That is why they are on the move. Their home is a train station, a highway restaurant, a gas station, a hotel or motel, a train compartment, a snack bar, a theater foyer, a movie house.

They are going somewhere without being able to arrive. They have personality traits that seem mutually exclusive. They are mobile and restless, yet statically tied to some location from which they will probably never escape.

Our thanks to everyone else who contributed to this post. Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski
Recent Finds

Here are a few pictures we have recently acquired.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 419 is eastbound in June 1952, just east of First Avenue in Maywood.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 419 is eastbound in June 1952, just east of First Avenue in Maywood.

In this original red border Kodachrome slide, we see a two-car train of CTA wooden "L" cars, possibly on a fantrip, on the ground-level section of the Garfield Park "L" (possibly Central or Austin?). The date is April 14, 1957. In the foreground, we see a new temporary track alignment under construction.

In this original red border Kodachrome slide, we see a two-car train of CTA wooden “L” cars, possibly on a fantrip, on the ground-level section of the Garfield Park “L” (possibly Central or Austin?). The date is April 14, 1957. In the foreground, we see a new temporary track alignment under construction.

CTA PCC 4168, a Pullman, heads west on diversion trackage along Chicago Avenue. This is a southbound Halsted car, probably circa 1952. This routing was used when the Halsted Street bridge over the Chicago River was out of service. The building in the background is the historic Montgomery Wards headquarters, a local landmark, at 618 W. Chicago Avenue.

CTA PCC 4168, a Pullman, heads west on diversion trackage along Chicago Avenue. This is a southbound Halsted car, probably circa 1952. This routing was used when the Halsted Street bridge over the Chicago River was out of service. The building in the background is the historic Montgomery Wards headquarters, a local landmark, at 618 W. Chicago Avenue.

On January 1, 1947, Chicago Surface Lines 789 heads south on Damen Avenue at the intersection of Lincoln and Irving Park Road. I lived about a block away from here in the 1980s and this neighborhood is known as North Center.

On January 1, 1947, Chicago Surface Lines 789 heads south on Damen Avenue at the intersection of Lincoln and Irving Park Road. I lived about a block away from here in the 1980s and this neighborhood is known as North Center.

This photo, taken at the CTA's South Shops in the second half of 1956, shows various prewar PCCs (including 4006) that were out of service following the bustitution of Route 49 - Western. Trolley poles have already been removed, and it appears that seat frames are stacked nearby. From an original medium format transparency.

This photo, taken at the CTA’s South Shops in the second half of 1956, shows various prewar PCCs (including 4006) that were out of service following the bustitution of Route 49 – Western. Trolley poles have already been removed, and it appears that seat frames are stacked nearby. From an original medium format transparency.

CTA 6573 is shown in Pekin, Illinois, on its way from the St. Louis Car Company to Chicago in the mid-1950s. Once on CTA property, it will be coupled with 6574 as a permanently married pair.

CTA 6573 is shown in Pekin, Illinois, on its way from the St. Louis Car Company to Chicago in the mid-1950s. Once on CTA property, it will be coupled with 6574 as a permanently married pair.

Queensboro Bridge trolleys 601 and 611 at Queens Plaza on April 19, 1949. This bridge line was abandoned in 1957 and was the last trolley operation in the state of New York. These cars were called "Electromobiles," and were built by Osgood Bradley in the late 1920s.

Queensboro Bridge trolleys 601 and 611 at Queens Plaza on April 19, 1949. This bridge line was abandoned in 1957 and was the last trolley operation in the state of New York. These cars were called “Electromobiles,” and were built by Osgood Bradley in the late 1920s.

CTA PCC 4396, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, is southbound on Clark Street, having just crossed the Chicago River, on July 9, 1957. This is from an original 35mm Kodachrome slide, processed by Technicolor.

CTA PCC 4396, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, is southbound on Clark Street, having just crossed the Chicago River, on July 9, 1957. This is from an original 35mm Kodachrome slide, processed by Technicolor.

The Chicago Aurora & Elgin's Wheaton Yards on April 13, 1957. From an original red border Kodachrome.

The Chicago Aurora & Elgin’s Wheaton Yards on April 13, 1957. From an original red border Kodachrome.

Various North Shore Line cars are seen in Waukegan in June 1961, including 159. (F. R. Burke Photo)

Various North Shore Line cars are seen in Waukegan in June 1961, including 159. (F. R. Burke Photo)

New Steam Audio CD:

FTS
Farewell To Steam
Mister D’s Machine
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.99

Farewell To Steam
On February 6, 1955 the Santa Fe Railway ran a railfan train from Los Angeles to Barstow and back for the Railway Club of Southern California. This was Santa Fe’s last run powered by a steam locomotive over this route. The engine was a 4-8-4, #3759. We have used the original, rare 1955 mono version of this recording, and not the later 1958 reissue that had a bunch of echo added to create a fake stereo effect.

Mister D’s Machine
When diesel locomotives replaced steam in the 1950s, they offered a multitude of different sounds. This original 1963 stereo recording showcases the many sounds of diesels on the San Joaquin and Los Angeles Divisions of the Southern Pacific, including the Tahachappi Loop, an engineering feat that made modern railroading famous.

As with all of our recordings, this CD comes with the complete, original liner notes.

Total time – 72:56

Pre-Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There are three subway anniversaries this year in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)

To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

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!

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:

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Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 219th 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 440,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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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.

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Recent Finds, 1-12-2018

Lehigh Valley Transit express freight car C7. built by Jewett in 1913, is seen here at the Fairview car barn in the 1940s.

Lehigh Valley Transit express freight car C7. built by Jewett in 1913, is seen here at the Fairview car barn in the 1940s.

Here are some of our recent photographic finds, which include some very rare scenes. In addition, we have some interesting correspondence, and great Chicago Aurora & Elgin pictures courtesy of Jack Bejna.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- We note with great regret the passing of Al Reinschmidt, who was an occasional poster on the Chicagotransit Yahoo discussion group (as “Buslist”), and also left a few comments on this blog. We learned of his passing from the Illinois Railway Museum Facebook page:

We are saddened to report the passing of one of our regular volunteers, Al Reinschmidt. Al was a civil engineer known as one of the foremost experts on rail design and performance and worked on high speed rail projects around the world. At IRM he volunteered in our restoration shop and as a streetcar motorman but he was probably best known to visitors as one of the regular announcers at our Day Out With Thomas event and as the reader of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” during Happy Holiday Railway. His kindness, geniality and vast store of knowledge will be missed.

Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Annual Fundraiser

In about 20 day’s time, our annual bill to fund this site and its web domain comes due.  That comes to $400, or just over $1 per day for the entire year.  So far, we have collected $60 of the required amount. If you have already contributed, we are particularly grateful.

If you enjoy reading this blog, and want to see it continue, we hope you will consider supporting it via a donation.  You can also purchase items from our Online Store. With your help, we cannot fail.

Recent Finds

Lehigh Valley Transit cars 701 (left) and 812 (right) on a fantrip, some time prior to the 1951 abandonment of interurban service on the Liberty Bell route.

Lehigh Valley Transit cars 701 (left) and 812 (right) on a fantrip, some time prior to the 1951 abandonment of interurban service on the Liberty Bell route.

CSL 6268 is at the east end of the 43rd - Root line (approximately 1146 E. 43rd Street) in the 1940s. In the background, you can see a pedestrian bridge over the nearby Illinois Central Electric tracks. 6268 was known as a Multiple Unit caar. Don's Rail Photos says, "6268 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 6268 is at the east end of the 43rd – Root line (approximately 1146 E. 43rd Street) in the 1940s. In the background, you can see a pedestrian bridge over the nearby Illinois Central Electric tracks. 6268 was known as a Multiple Unit caar. Don’s Rail Photos says, “6268 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

The same location today.

The same location today.

John Smatlak writes:

I really enjoyed seeing that photo of CSL 6268 is at the east end of the 43rd – Root line. This location was of course just a block away from the terminus of the Kenwood branch of the L. Here is a photo your readers may enjoy taken 11-12-28 of the L terminal and the Chicago Junction freight tracks that passed under the L at that location. Thanks!

"Though still carrying a faded passenger car paint scheme, and sporting a South Chicago - Sheffield route sign, CSL #2828 has long since entered work service to pull cars around the shops." Don's Rail Photos: "2828 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in July 1904, #242, as CERy 123. It became C&SC Ry 813 in 1908 and renumbered 2828 in 1913. It became CSL 2828 in 1914 and scrapped in 1946." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

“Though still carrying a faded passenger car paint scheme, and sporting a South Chicago – Sheffield route sign, CSL #2828 has long since entered work service to pull cars around the shops.” Don’s Rail Photos: “2828 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in July 1904, #242, as CERy 123. It became C&SC Ry 813 in 1908 and renumbered 2828 in 1913. It became CSL 2828 in 1914 and scrapped in 1946.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CTA prewar PCC 7033 at 115th and Cottage Grove, the south end of Route 4, circa 1952-55. In the background, you can see the adjacent Illinois Central Electric embankment.

CTA prewar PCC 7033 at 115th and Cottage Grove, the south end of Route 4, circa 1952-55. In the background, you can see the adjacent Illinois Central Electric embankment.

CTA prewar PCC 4034, presumably at 71st and Ashland.

CTA prewar PCC 4034, presumably at 71st and Ashland.

The old Larrabee "L" station at North Avenue. This station was also called Larrabee and Ogden, after Ogden was extended north between 1926 and 1930. It was closed by the CTA in 1949 as part of a service revision.

The old Larrabee “L” station at North Avenue. This station was also called Larrabee and Ogden, after Ogden was extended north between 1926 and 1930. It was closed by the CTA in 1949 as part of a service revision.

These old wooden "L" cars may be in storage at Skokie Shops, before the facilities were expanded.

These old wooden “L” cars may be in storage at Skokie Shops, before the facilities were expanded.

This view looks north towards the Wilson "L" yard and shops. You can see the interlocking tower, and at left, part of the ramp down to Buena Yard, which was used for freight. Dan Cluley writes, "Looking at the Wilson Shops photo, am I correct that those are some of the piggyback flat cars in between the grass and the L structure?" I asked an expert. Here’s what J. J. Sedelmaier says: “It’s absolutely the NSL Ferry-Truck equipment! That’s the old Wilson Shops building in the background and that’s the north end of Montrose Yards and transfer station.” Bill Shapotkin says this is Montrose Tower.

This view looks north towards the Wilson “L” yard and shops. You can see the interlocking tower, and at left, part of the ramp down to Buena Yard, which was used for freight. Dan Cluley writes, “Looking at the Wilson Shops photo, am I correct that those are some of the piggyback flat cars in between the grass and the L structure?” I asked an expert. Here’s what J. J. Sedelmaier says: “It’s absolutely the NSL Ferry-Truck equipment! That’s the old Wilson Shops building in the background and that’s the north end of Montrose Yards and transfer station.” Bill Shapotkin says this is Montrose Tower.

Wilson Yard and Shops. Note the North Shore Line freight station at lower left. (J. J. Sedelmaier Collection)

Wilson Yard and Shops. Note the North Shore Line freight station at lower left. (J. J. Sedelmaier Collection)

Although this is not the sharpest picture, it does show the Austin Boulevard station on the Garfield park "L", probably circa 1954. We are looking east. To the left, you can see the southern edge of Columbus Park. At the far left, temporary tracks are already being built, which the "L" would shift to in this area on August 29, 1954. This is the present site of the Eisenhower Expressway.

Although this is not the sharpest picture, it does show the Austin Boulevard station on the Garfield park “L”, probably circa 1954. We are looking east. To the left, you can see the southern edge of Columbus Park. At the far left, temporary tracks are already being built, which the “L” would shift to in this area on August 29, 1954. This is the present site of the Eisenhower Expressway.

Here, we are looking east along Van Buren, just west of Paulina. The tracks in the foreground are the temporary Garfield Park "L" right of way. The Congress (later Eisenhower) expressway is under construction to the right, with the Douglas Park "L" in the background. This photo was probably taken in early 1954. The Garfield Park "L" west of Paulina has already been demolished, but the Marshfield station still appears intact. This could not be removed until the Douglas line was re-reouted over the Lake Street "L".

Here, we are looking east along Van Buren, just west of Paulina. The tracks in the foreground are the temporary Garfield Park “L” right of way. The Congress (later Eisenhower) expressway is under construction to the right, with the Douglas Park “L” in the background. This photo was probably taken in early 1954. The Garfield Park “L” west of Paulina has already been demolished, but the Marshfield station still appears intact. This could not be removed until the Douglas line was re-reouted over the Lake Street “L”.

CTA 6123-6124 on the outer end of the Douglas Park line, probably in the early 1950s.

CTA 6123-6124 on the outer end of the Douglas Park line, probably in the early 1950s.

This is an unusual picture, as it shows the Calvary "L" station in Evanston, which was a flag stop in both directions. Located opposite the entrance to Calvary cemetery, this station closed in 1931 and was replaced by South Boulevard a few blocks north. This view looks north from the southern edge of the cemetery. As you can see, the platforms appear relatively short. They were removed in the 1930s, but the rest of the station was not demolished until 1995. This photo probably dates to around 1930.

This is an unusual picture, as it shows the Calvary “L” station in Evanston, which was a flag stop in both directions. Located opposite the entrance to Calvary cemetery, this station closed in 1931 and was replaced by South Boulevard a few blocks north. This view looks north from the southern edge of the cemetery. As you can see, the platforms appear relatively short. They were removed in the 1930s, but the rest of the station was not demolished until 1995. This photo probably dates to around 1930.

A close-up of the Calvary station.

A close-up of the Calvary station.

J.J. Sedelmaier writes:

Does ANYone have shots of the Calvary stop on the “L” while still in service, prior to the opening of South Boulevard in 1930?

I think we may have something (see above).

J.J. replies:

YES !! I saw this last week ! So exciting ! The best shot so far, and I’ve been searching for decades !! Thanks for the heads-up David !!

The funny thing is, the photographer, whoever it was, doesn’t seem to have been trying to take a picture of the Calvary station at all. Otherwise, they surely would have moved in a lot closer first. It is a picture of a largely empty street, that just happens to show the station in the distance, which at the time was probably considered fairly unimportant.

J.J. continues:

Here are the shots I have here. I took the 1970’s pics. Bruce Moffat took the 1994 pics. The 1931 shot is a company photo that I got from Malcolm D. MacCarter in the mid-90s.

This January 12, 1931 photo shows the South Boulevard station under construction. It was in a better location from the standpoint of patronage, and replaced the Calvary station a few blocks away (which you can see in the distance). (Chicago Rapid Transit Company Photo)

This January 12, 1931 photo shows the South Boulevard station under construction. It was in a better location from the standpoint of patronage, and replaced the Calvary station a few blocks away (which you can see in the distance). (Chicago Rapid Transit Company Photo)

A close-up of the previous image, showing the Calvary station in the distance.

A close-up of the previous image, showing the Calvary station in the distance.

The entrance to the former Calvary station, as it appeared in 1970 when it was being used by a monument company. (J. J. Sedelmaier Photo)

The entrance to the former Calvary station, as it appeared in 1970 when it was being used by a monument company. (J. J. Sedelmaier Photo)

A side view of the former Calvary station in 1970. The platforms were removed in the 1930s and hardly any photos exist showing them in service. (J. J. Sedelmaier Photo)

A side view of the former Calvary station in 1970. The platforms were removed in the 1930s and hardly any photos exist showing them in service. (J. J. Sedelmaier Photo)

Bruce Moffat took this picture on February 15, 1994 just before the station entrance was demolished.

Bruce Moffat took this picture on February 15, 1994 just before the station entrance was demolished.

The interior of the former Calvary "L" station as it appeared on February 15, 1994. (Bruce Moffat Photo)

The interior of the former Calvary “L” station as it appeared on February 15, 1994. (Bruce Moffat Photo)

In addition, here is a classic shot that Mr. Sedelmaier shared with us:

On July 23, 1955, John D. Emery, then president of the Evanston Historical Society, purchased the last Shore Line ticket sold at the Church Street station from agent George Kennedy. The ticket window was closed the following day (Sunday), and the last Shore Line train ran in the early hours of July 25 (Monday). The ticket remains in the Historical Society collection. Emery was later (1962-1970) the mayor of Evanston, during which time he vetoed an anti-discrimination housing ordinance. (Evanston Photographic Service/J.J. Sedelmaier Collection Photo)

On July 23, 1955, John D. Emery, then president of the Evanston Historical Society, purchased the last Shore Line ticket sold at the Church Street station from agent George Kennedy. The ticket window was closed the following day (Sunday), and the last Shore Line train ran in the early hours of July 25 (Monday). The ticket remains in the Historical Society collection. Emery was later (1962-1970) the mayor of Evanston, during which time he vetoed an anti-discrimination housing ordinance. (Evanston Photographic Service/J.J. Sedelmaier Collection Photo)

(J.J. Sedelmaier Collection)

(J.J. Sedelmaier Collection)

Chicago & Calumet District Transit Company (aka Hammond, Whiting & East chicago) car 70 in Hammond. In our post More Hoosier Traction (September 2, 2015), we ran another photo that appears to have been taken at the same time as this. If so, the date is February 1939. There is some damage to this old print, in the area around car 70's headlight. Trolley service here ended in 1940. (Richard J. Anderson Photo)

Chicago & Calumet District Transit Company (aka Hammond, Whiting & East chicago) car 70 in Hammond. In our post More Hoosier Traction (September 2, 2015), we ran another photo that appears to have been taken at the same time as this. If so, the date is February 1939. There is some damage to this old print, in the area around car 70’s headlight. Trolley service here ended in 1940. (Richard J. Anderson Photo)

Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee wood car 300 on a fantrip on the streets of Waukegan circa 1940. From 1939 until 1942, the North Shore Line allowed Central Electric Railfans' Association to use 300 as their "club car." Here, we see it parked in front of Immaculate Conception school.

Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee wood car 300 on a fantrip on the streets of Waukegan circa 1940. From 1939 until 1942, the North Shore Line allowed Central Electric Railfans’ Association to use 300 as their “club car.” Here, we see it parked in front of Immaculate Conception school.

North Shore Line car 731 (and train) at the Wisconsin State Fair, possibly circa 1930. In order to access the fairgrounds, North Shore Line cars had to get there via the Milwaukee Electric. Incompatibilities between the two interurbans' wheel profiles resulted in wheel damage to the NSL.

North Shore Line car 731 (and train) at the Wisconsin State Fair, possibly circa 1930. In order to access the fairgrounds, North Shore Line cars had to get there via the Milwaukee Electric. Incompatibilities between the two interurbans’ wheel profiles resulted in wheel damage to the NSL.

The North Shore Line in Highland Park, circa 1930. Here, we are looking north along the Shore Line Route, which quit in 1955. NSL tracks ran parallel to the nearby Chicago & North Western commuter line, which would be to the left of this view.

The North Shore Line in Highland Park, circa 1930. Here, we are looking north along the Shore Line Route, which quit in 1955. NSL tracks ran parallel to the nearby Chicago & North Western commuter line, which would be to the left of this view.

The information on the back of this picture says we are looking south from Central Avenue in Highland Park. At right, thiee are North Shore Line tracks on the old Shore Line Route. A small shelter is visible at right. This picture is circa 1930. The area the North Shore Line once occupied is now a parking lot.

The information on the back of this picture says we are looking south from Central Avenue in Highland Park. At right, thiee are North Shore Line tracks on the old Shore Line Route. A small shelter is visible at right. This picture is circa 1930. The area the North Shore Line once occupied is now a parking lot.

The same location today.

The same location today.

These photos have been added to our post The Fairmount Park Trolley (November 7, 2017), which included several other photos of the Five Mile Beach Electric Railway in Wildwood, New Jersey:

Five Mile Beach electric Railway car 27 at Atlantic and Oak Avenues in Wildwood, on the Angelsea-Crest line, June 1945. A bus is also visible. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach electric Railway car 27 at Atlantic and Oak Avenues in Wildwood, on the Angelsea-Crest line, June 1945. A bus is also visible. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach electric Railway cars 22 and 27 at the Wildwood carhouse on May 30, 1945, shortly before abandonment. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach electric Railway cars 22 and 27 at the Wildwood carhouse on May 30, 1945, shortly before abandonment. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 30 in the car barn, circa the mid-1940s. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 30 in the car barn, circa the mid-1940s. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Recent Correspondence

On June 26, 1960 a pair of CTA single-car units went out on a portion of the Lake Street "L", but apparently did not go on the ground-level portion of the route. Here, we see the train heading westbound at Clinton and Lake. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

On June 26, 1960 a pair of CTA single-car units went out on a portion of the Lake Street “L”, but apparently did not go on the ground-level portion of the route. Here, we see the train heading westbound at Clinton and Lake. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

Miles Beitler writes:

I was doing some online research recently and followed a link to a photo on your blog. The photo was posted under “Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part 6” and included the following in the caption:

“Here’s an interesting streetscape that could not be duplicated today. According to the back of the picture, it shows the view looking east from South Boulevard and Austin, on the eastern edge of Oak Park. The Lake Street “L”, where it ran on the ground, had a very narrow right-of-way that the 6000s, with their bulging sides, could not fit in.”

I have read similar comments posted by others, i.e., that the reason no 6000s were used on the Lake Street “L” is that the cars were too wide. While it’s true that the curved body 6000s were wider than the 4000s and wood cars, the difference was slight — not more than a foot at their widest point. So I don’t think that would explain why they weren’t used. I think a more logical explanation is that the ground level portion of the Lake Street “L” used trolley wire, and none of the original 6000s had trolley poles. (I believe that the only exception was one experimental high performance trainset (6127-6130) that was used in Evanston Express service.) You will note that the original “baldy” 4000s also were not used in Lake Street service for the same reason. The steel roofs of those 4000s made it very difficult to retrofit them with trolley poles.

By the time the western portion of the line was elevated and converted to third rail in 1962, the high performance 2000s were already ordered. So the CTA probably decided to just keep using the older cars until the 2000s arrived. Cars 1-50 did have trolley poles, but those cars were not received until shortly before the elevation of the Lake Street “L” at which time they would not have been needed anyway, so they were used on the Evanston line instead, and later some were used on the Skokie Swift.

Does this make sense, or am I all wet?

Either way, keep up your fantastic blog!

Thanks for writing. You have made an interesting hypothesis, which deserves consideration.

First of all, I have heard enough stories regarding the tight clearances on the ground-level portion of Lake to believe there was some sort of clearance problem that prevented the use of curved-sided rapid transit cars there. The most logical explanation so far is that this involved the gatemen’s shantys.

Having ridden the Lake Street “L” numerous times prior to the October 28, 1962 relocation of the outer portion of the route onto the C&NW embankment, I can assure you that clearances were very tight, as two tracks and platforms were shoehorned into a side street, which continued to have two-way auto traffic.

There was a fantrip on Lake during 1960 using one of the single-car units in the 1-50 series, and while this train did venture down to the lower level of Hamlin Yard, it apparently made no effort to go west of Laramie. You would think they would have done so had this been possible. (See photo above.)

Similar clearance restrictions have existed on other parts of the system. Skokie Swift cars that had pan trolleys fitted were not allowed to go downtown, and cars with poles cannot go into the Kimball subway. (At the moment, this restriction would only apply to 4271-4272.)

That being said, let us take a step back and review how the Lake Street “L” fit in with the strategic thinking of various planners over the decades.

In 1937, the City of Chicago proposed building an aerial highway on the Lake Street “L” structure, and some other “L”s such as Humboldt Park. In theory this would have been something like the West Side Elevated Highway in New York City, which was built between 1929 and 1951 and which partially collapsed in 1973.

Express bus service would have replaced the rapid transit line, as would have a beefed-up Garfield Park “L” in this plan. We can be glad this was not built.

By 1939, this plan was abandoned in favor of the Congress Parkway Expressway that was built starting a decade later, and opened in stages between 1955 and 1960.

The City was proposing various subways all over town, in addition to the State Street and Dearborn-Milwaukee tubes that were built starting in 1938. One goal was to tear down the Loop “L”, starting with the Lake and Wabash legs.

The Lake Street “L” would have been diverted into a subway connection just west of the Loop that of course was never built. Neither was a connection built to divert the Lake “L” into the Congress line via an elevated connection near Kedzie, or Kostner, although the CTA was still intent on doing these things as of 1948.

There is some question whether the entire Lake Street “L” might have been abandoned early in the CTA era, if not for the innovation of A/B “skip stop” service that was begun in 1948. This was so successful that it was gradually used on other parts of the CTA system.

When and how were curved-side “L” cars developed? It seems likely this idea, like many others, came from New York, where some experimental 1930s BMT railcars such as the so-called “Green Hornet” had mildly curved sides.

In Chicago, curved sides appeared on ten interurbans, #451-460 for the Chicago Aurora & Elgin, designed in 1941 but not built by St. Louis Car Company until 1945, as well as the two North Shore Line Electroliners.

These were followed by four experimental sets of articulated rapid transit cars $5001-5004, delivered in 1947-48. Except for the curved sides, largely patterned after the BMT “Bluebirds: from 1939-40.

Chicago’s Initial System of Subways was designed to allow for longer and wider cars, closer to New York standards. The City may have hoped these standards could gradually be applied to the entire system, but it was not to be.

When the Chicago Transit Authority took over from the Chicago Rapid Transit Company in 1947, one primary goal was to purchase enough new steel railcars to allow the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway to open. Another goal was to get rid of the wooden “L” cars, which were getting very old and were not permitted in the subways.

When the first 6000s were delivered starting in 1950, they were first used on Douglas, but that was for test purposes. After another year or two, CTA switched things around, so the new 6000s were used in the State Street subway, and the 4000s on the more lightly used Dearborn-Milwaukee.

Meanwhile, the last wood cars were used on Lake around 1955. The last wooden :”L” cars were used in service in 1957, by which time there were enough new 6000s on hand to permit their retirements.

But else what was happening on Lake during the 1950s? By 1951-5, CTA appears to have figured out that the “problem” portion of Lake was the outer end, not the parts east of Laramie. The first suggestion was to truncate the line to Laramie, but this did not go over well in Oak Park, so the various parties got together, and the embankment plan was the result.

These plans were finalized around 1958. The relocation took place in 1962, at which time the CTA probably hoped to have taken delivery on what became the 2000-series. But there were so many changes and innovations in these cars that delivery did not occur until 1964.

So yes, it does not appear that it was ever a high priority for the CTA to use 6000s on the ground-level portion of Lake. Wood cars were replaced by 4000s around 1955, which was considered a service improvement, and within three years from that, plans were afoot to relocate service anyway.

However, if the CTA had really wanted to run 6000s on Lake, I expect changes could have been made in the locations of whatever obstacles prevented it, and additional cars could have been equipped with trolley poles, as was done for Evanston.

I doubt these would have been single-car units, though, since those were intended for “off peak” one-man operation on Evanston, something which I don’t think would have been suitable on Lake.

As it was, I don’t recall seeing 6000s on Lake much before 1979. In the wake of that year’s blizzard, which shut down the line west of Laramie for a week, so many of the newer cars had burned-out motors that it became necessary to use the older 6000s.

I hope this answers your questions.

-David Sadowski

Miles Beitler again:

Dave, you obviously know FAR more about Chicago transit than I do. You could probably give Graham Garfield some stiff competition.

I believe you recently wrote a book about trolleys. I grew up not far from the terminal of the Clark Street car line at Howard Street and I remember riding the Green Hornets to the local branch of the Chicago public library. I also remember visiting my cousins who lived a block away from the Devon car barn and seeing all of the streetcars stored there. However, I’m more interested in the “L” and interurban history. I spent my childhood watching the North Shore Line trains, and I was fortunate enough to ride an Electroliner to Racine, Wisconsin about a year before the NSL folded.

Have you given or considered giving presentations about Chicago transit at schools, libraries, etc.? WTTW channel 11 might also like to use you as a resource on Chicago transit history or for the production of programs on the subject, similar to the ones produced by Geoffrey Baer over the past 25 years.

There are a number of people, several in fact, who qualify as experts on Chicago transit. We all tend to know each other to some extent, as we’re interested in many of the same things.

I don’t feel like I am competing with any of the other “experts.” We have each found our own niche, and have different contributions to make. In fact, this blog is only successful because it is based on sharing and cooperation.

Actually, I have given a number of presentations to various groups over the years.

WTTW actually did feature the Chicago PCC book I co-authored once on Chicago Tonight. You can read about it in our post A Window to the World of Streetcars (June 2, 2016).

Our pictures do get around. Several photos that I posted to the Internet ended up being featured in an article called Displaced, which tried to determine what happened to the people who were living in the path of the Congress expressway when it was built. (See our post Some Thoughts on Displaced, August 30, 2016.)

Who knows when or where our stuff will show up in the future. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Thanks.

Ron Smolen adds:

In your last post this comment was posted in the sections about 6000s on Lake street:

“You will note that the original “baldy” 4000s also were not used in Lake Street service for the same reason. The steel roofs of those 4000s made it very difficult to retrofit them with trolley poles.”

TRUE… however, near the end of the Baldies operations, I do recall seeing LIVE and in photos
some single baldies that were placed in trains with 4000 pole equipped cars that DID operate in regular service to Harlem under wire.

Ron adds that, according to www.chicago-l.org, “baldy” 4000s ran on Lake from 1959 to 1964, paired with pole-equipped “plushies.”

Jack Bejna writes:

A Tale of Two Pictures

A short time ago there was a question raised by a reader about changing original photographs with Photoshop, thereby eliminating the original intent of the image. As an example of what I do, refer to the first image of CA&E 209. From my experience of working with CA&E images, I believe that the image was captured at the Laramie Freight House area, but of course that is only a guess. My goal is to try to improve the original image and enhance the background while preserving the original intent of the photographer when the image was captured. With this image I decided to place Car 209 in a typical situation, that is, on one of the storage tracks behind the freight house. Further, I like the look of the Niles wood cars so I added the front of sister car 207 to present an unblocked image of Car 209. I spent the rest of my efforts on improving the photograph itself with Photoshop. The final result is pretty much the way I think it looked at the time and represents a cleaner roster shot of a classic Niles interurban.

 

Moving right along with the CA&E roster, here are some images of the work cars and locomotives that kept the railroad running.
-Jack

CA&E Express Cars – Line Cars – Locomotives – Tool Cars

CA&E rostered a variety of Motors to fit the job at hand. First, the Newspaper Special, obviously a motor that probably spent time doing whatever job was needed in addition to delivering newspapers. I’ve never found a number for this car or any record of when or how it was retired.

Next, express cars 9, 11, & 15 illustrate the differences in length, configuration, etc., in the CA&E roster. Line cars 11 and 45 are next. Car 45 was purchased from the Chicago & Interurban Traction when the line quit in 1927. When Car 45 was retired it was replaced by car 11, rebuilt as a line car.

Locomotive 3 was built as a double ended plow and was used as a work motor by removing the plows.

Next up are the CA&E locomotives, including 2001-2002 built by GE in 1920, 3003-3004 built by BLW-WH in 1923-4, and 4005-4006 built by Oklahoma Railway in 1929.

Finally, Tool Cars 7 and B are shown. Tool Car B was rebuilt from a boxcar.

Here are a few more CA&E freight motors. First is an image of 5-15 in a winter scene. Before the railroad purchased 2001-2002 these two cars were commonly used as locomotives on the freight trains. Second is tool car in an unusual paint scheme. I’m glad they didn’t paint all the motors like this! Finally, here is a scene of Line Car 45 in action on a line relocation in Aurora.

Here’s a real gem that I came across searching the Internet. CA&E had a fire in the early days that destroyed many of their records, photographs, etc., so much of the early days is lost forever. Somehow this image survived somewhere, and we are able to see what express car 4 looked like, albeit with a lot of Photoshop help. I have no idea who built it or when, and how long it lasted.

Enjoy!

Jack

As always, we thank Jack for sharing these wonderful photos.

Fernandes writes:

Hello. I’m doing some reading about bus history. In 1921, Fageol launched Safety Coach and then, Model 20 and 40. Then the Twin Coach style.

I found it very interesting that they always adopted a design style similar to trains and not cars.

Well, we are the product of our time. Back in 1920 when the Fageols designed their first bus, what style reference did they have? Trains, of course.

But it’s interesting because their first “bus”, the Safety Coach, had a vehicle body. Not related to train. Some years later, they created the Twin Coach with a train looking style.

Would you provide me some info about bus/train design inspiration?

I forwarded this to Andre Kristopans, who knows much more than I ever could about bus history. Here is his reply:

At least part of the deal was that early intercity coaches often replaced branch line trains or directly competed with them. So, why not make something sort of train-like? As for the 40s, they sort of mimic what a “modern” streetcar looked like in the 1920s. Why not? Imitation can be a big compliment. By the 930s some elements of streetcar design such as rear door in very rear were replaced by designs more practical for a bus like a rear door 3/4 way back. But then new streetcars like PCCs started mimicking buses!

Kenneth Gear writes:

Another Railroad Record Club mystery solved!

Remember a year or so ago we saw RRC records for sale on eBay that were stamped “This is an audition set record and is the property of the Railroad Record Club?” We speculated that Steventon may have sent records to radio stations in an attempt to get them played on air. Well, that was not the case.

Along with the RRC catalog I received with the RRC #10 record I recently purchased was a two page notice of an “audition set program” the club was offering. The notice explains the whole program so I won’t go into detail about it since you can read it right from the notice. Interesting stuff and another RRC question answered!

The catalog was the same one that you posted in the Trolley Dodger.

This audition thing couldn’t have worked out very well. For every new order that it generated, there were likely problems with people not returning the records or paying for them.

I can see how Steventon wanted to bend over backwards to get people to hear these things, but this seems like a lot of extra work, with probably not enough reward.

Thanks very much for your detective work.

Frank Kennedy writes:

Thank you so much for the trolley book, David. Not only is it a great gift, it is a work of such devotional power. There looks to be years of searching for appropriate photographs in all of this. I really don’t know what to say except thank you for the hours future spent in great reading.

This is probably the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me. I didn’t respond right away, because it left me speechless.

Work on the book, from the initial proposal to the book being published, was actually less than a year. But if I think about it, I spent much of my life preparing to write such a book.

-David Sadowski

PS- Frank Kennedy is the founder of the Chicagotransit Yahoo discussion group.

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.

This book makes an excellent gift and costs just $17.99 plus shipping. That’s $4.00 off the list price.

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Under Our Tree

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

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

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

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

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

A 1953 Dodge Coronet.

A 1953 Dodge Coronet.

dodge-coronet-1953-7


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

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

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

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Happy Holidays!

-David Sadowski

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The same location today.

The same location today.

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

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

The same location today.

The same location today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The same location today.

The same location today.

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

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

CSL 1333, built in 1908.

CSL 1333, built in 1908.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

North and Clark today.

North and Clark today.

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

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

Ashland and Irving Park today.

Ashland and Irving Park today.

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

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

Irving Park and Broadway today.

Irving Park and Broadway today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Recent Correspondence

csl-5990-at-carbarn

John Smatlak writes:

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

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

Mystery solved, the photo was taken at West Shops.

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

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

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

Thanks!

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


Book Review

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

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

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

Here his how the publisher describes this book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-David Sadowski

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


Marx Trains

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

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

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

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

marxtrainirt4

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marxtrainirt2


New Book Project

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


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