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

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

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

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

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

-David Sadowski

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

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

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

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

LVT 702 and 812 on November 12, 1939.

LVT 702 and 812 on November 12, 1939.

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

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

LVT's Souderton car barn in 1951.

LVT’s Souderton car barn in 1951.

LVT 702 at Rink Siding in Norristown in 1951.

LVT 702 at Rink Siding in Norristown in 1951.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Liberty Bell Limited saucer.

A Liberty Bell Limited saucer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A vintage uniform patch.

A vintage uniform patch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recent Correspondence

Joey Morrow writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

birney1

birney2

birney3

Kenneth Gear writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dennis Kern writes:

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

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

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

Thanks for your time in looking at this.

interurban station

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

Thanks.

Andre Kristopans writes:

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

6138-6146, 3090 built 1918

11’8-3/16″ high

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

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

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

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

6147-6154, 3091 built 1919

11’9-3/8″ high

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks!!

Ron Ruddell writes:

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

Thanks for the correction.

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


In the News

Upcoming Exhibition at Grohmann Museum in Milwaukee

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

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

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

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


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

This is our 104th 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 101,000 page views from over 29,000 individuals.

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

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

We thank you for your support.


New Railroad Record Club Discs

RRC23

Trolley Dodger Records
is making considerable progress towards our goal of releasing the entire output of the long-gone Railroad Record Company on compact discs. Today, we announce the availability of six more RRC LPs in digital form. Now there are just seven remaining RRC LPs that we are still looking for (see the list at the end of this post).

We have found several of these titles thanks to the generosity of collector Kenneth Gear.

Most of the 40 or so RRC discs were 10″ records with a running time of about 30 minutes apiece. Therefore, we have paired up various RRC recordings, since two will fit on a single CD. So, today we are offering three new CD collections. One previous release has been expanded.

Perhaps the rarest Railroad Record Company LP of them all is #23, Pennsylvania Trolleys. This disc showcases two of the smaller trolley systems in the Keystone State, as they existed in the early 1950s– Altona & Logan Valley and Johnstown Traction. We are excited to add this to our list of available titles as one of the “crown jewels” of the RRC collection, of which there are many.

This has been paired with RRC #30, Sound Scrapbook – Traction. This includes additional recordings from Johnstown Traction and the Altoona & Logan Valley, and adds to them the Rochester Subway, the old US Senate Subway, Grand River Railway, and Scranton Transit.

It’s worth noting that Johnstown Traction car 311, featured on these recordings, is now preserved at the Rockhill Trolley Museum.

Even by 1953-54, when these recordings were made, it was apparent that the traction era in many of the smaller cities of Pennsylvania was fast coming to an end. The last Altoona & Logan Valley streetcar ran on August 7, 1954, and the final Scranton trolley on December 18, 1954. Johnstown, the smallest US city ever to purchase new PCC streetcars, was the last to go on June 11, 1960.

Today, there is an effort underway by the Electric City Trolley Museum to restore Scranton car 505, an “Electromobile” built in 1929 by Osgood-Bradley. Its sister car 506 can be heard operating in Scranton on these recordings.

The Altoona & Logan Valley recordings on discs 23 and 30 feature car 74, which was also an Osgood-Bradley Electromobile, built in 1930. There is a picure of the car on Don’s Rail Photos:

http://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/dr0902/alv74.jpg

Unless you are a Canadian traction fan, you may not know much about the Grand River Railway, an Ontario electric interurban. Passenger service was abandoned on April 23, 1955. While we do not know when the Grand River audio was recorded for RRC disc #30, most likely it was around this time. There were two final fantrips, the last of which took place on May 1, 1955. Electric freight service continued until October 1, 1961. According to the Wikipedia, parts of the old Grand River right-of-way are going to be used in the next few years for light rail.

RRC LP #28, with both Charles City Western and Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern, has been added to our previous CD release of #11, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, a Cleveland area interurban.

Some of the cars on this CD are also preserved. Charles City Western car 50, now 100 years old, still operates in Iowa on the Boone & Scenic Valley Railway & Museum. Box motor OX is at the Northern Ohio Railway Museum. SHRT car 306 (formerly of the Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric) is now being restored at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Sadly, WCF&N car 100, which survived that interurban operation, was itself destroyed in an unfortunate fire on November 24, 1967 at the Iowa Terminal Railroad. As Don’s Rail Photos notes, “It had been the only car saved from the WCF&N roundhouse fire on October 31, 1954, when the other two cars of its class burned.” While the car itself is gone, at least these audio recordings remain.

Turning to steam, we have paired RRC LPs #03 and 16, since they are both narrow gauge recordings. These feature the Denver, Rio Grande & Western, East Broad Top Railroad, and the Westside Lumber Company.

RRC #20, which mainly features New York Central steam from the early 1950s, was almost entirely recorded in the state of Illinois. Here is where these records bring some unexpected personal stories to light.

The late William A. Steventon, founder of the Railroad Record Club, was the son of a railroad man. This record includes audio of his father operating a New York Central steam engine for the very last time in his career.

Although the RRC was based out of Hawkins, Wisconsin, Steventon himself grew up in Mt. Carmel, Illinois, in the southern part of the state, very close to the Indiana border. Therefore it should be no surprise that Steventon’s voice, as featured in the narration on the East Broad Top recordings, has a decided southern Indiana twang.

The liner notes to the Altoona & Logan Valley recordings were written by Walter Evans, who was blind from birth, but very much tuned in to the sound of Altoona trolleys. His recollections of these streetcars dated back to 1916.

I did some Internet searches and determined that Mr. Evans was born in 1910 and died in 1999, apparently living his whole life in the Altoona, Pennsylvania area. He taught at a school for the blind and retired in 1975 after having done this for 31 years.

RRC #20, which also has steam recordings of the Chicago & Illinois Midland in addition to New York Central, has been paired with an LP called Railroad Sounds. This late 1950s release came from another obscure and long defunct small record label, and includes both steam and diesel sounds from the Illinois Central.

Following up on an earlier post, one of our readers reports that the model of Chicago Surface Lines car 7001 was imported to this country by Ken Kidder. You can read more about his line of models here. Apparently, Mr. Kidder worked in the shoe department of a San Francisco department store. He was, it seems, more concerned with getting these fine models into people’s hands than he was in making money.

We are still looking for the following Railroad Record Club recordings, which are needed to complete our collection:

#19 – Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range
#21 – Duluth & Northeastern
#22 – Buffalo Creek & Gauley
#31 – Sound Scrapbook – Steam
#32 – New York Central
#33, 34 – South Shore Line (freight)

All other RRC recordings, including LPs #1-19, 20, 23-30, 35-36, plus Special releases 1-6, are available now in our Online Store. These come with free shipping within the United States.

-David Sadowski

RRC30


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

This is our 96th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we received more than 91,000 page views from more than 26,800 individuals.

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

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

We thank you for your support.


RRC23 RRC30

RRC #23 and 30
Pennsylvania Trolleys
Sound Scrapbook – Traction
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Record #23:
Car No. 311 of the Johnstown Traction Company running in city streets, going over switches, and the thump of the compressor. You can almost “feel” the sway of the car over low joints! Side Two is car No. 74 of the Altoona and Logan Valley on track work in Altoona.

Johnstown Traction car 311 is now preserved at the Rockhill Trolley Museum in Pennsylvania.

Record #30:
A wide selection of traction sounds including Rochester Subway, Senate Subway, Grand River Railway, Scranton Transit, Altoona & Logan Valley and the Johnstown Traction Company compressors, air horns, flange squeal, and even trolley seats being turned.

Total time – 61:22


Screen Shot 05-06-15 at 12.28 AMRRC28

RRC #11 and 28
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit
Charles City Western
Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Record #11:
Shades of the past with Shaker Heights Rapid Transit Nos. 30 and 306 sporting air horns and whistles from the Lake Shore Electric and Cincinnati & Lake Erie. Box Motor OX on rusty rail with lots of whistling. Even line car 101 puts in its appearance! If you like traction, you’ll like this.

Record #28:
An “on train” recording of Charles City Western No. 50 on the Colwell branch. A whistle that varies in pitch, controller notching and motor hum. Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern city car 381 leaving the Waterloo station for Cedar Falls. Also loco 184 and compressors on No. 100.

Total time – 64:45


RRC03 RRC16

RRC #03 and 16
East Broad Top Railroad and Coal Company
Denver and Rio Grande Western
Westside Lumber Company
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Record #03:
Trackside recordings of the East Broad Top while it was still a common carrier. Scenes from Rockhill Furnace to Robertsdale, including an upgrade struggle near Kimmel. Side Two is a trackside scene of No. 499 and 481 fighting upgrade at Cumbres Pass on the Denver and Rio Grande Western.

Record #16:
The exhaust of a Shay is soft and rapid. Here are soft, stuttering exhausts and whistles echoing along rocky hills. This is lumber transport in rough country with Westside Lumber Company Nos. 8, 9, and 10 picturing the indestructible Shay in action!

Total time – 68:48


RRC20CoverRRSounds

RRC #20 and RRS
New York Central
Chicago and Illinois Midland
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Record #20:
New York Central locomotives 5382, 1599, 3140 and an “on train” switching scene at Cairo, Illinois on the 1441. Side Two is Chicago & Illinois Midland No. 701 southbound, and the No. 540 switching. Gulf, Mobile & Ohio diesel No. 1110 presents an unusual program with the 540.

Record #RRS:
The steam and diesel sounds of a vanishing era… they become dimmer and dimmer as the sounds of a new and greater power age grow to be more of a reality with every passing day. They are part of the romance of America that will always be with us, in spite of atomic power and new technical wonders. for here, through the process of full frequency range recording, every nuance of this sound world of railroading is captured with earth-shaking dynamism. Here is a galvanic auditory experience for high fidelity enthusiasts to enjoy as they contemplate the rich pageantry of railroading and its mighty impact on the growth of an industrial world. Featuring the sounds of the New Orleans Division of the Illinois Central Railroad.

Total time – 55:37