Ravenswood Rarities

CTA 4271-4272 head up a Ravenswood "A" train leaving Kimball and Lawrence on October 21, 1973. This shows how this pair of cars looked before they were renovated as part of CTA's historical fleet.

CTA 4271-4272 head up a Ravenswood “A” train leaving Kimball and Lawrence on October 21, 1973. This shows how this pair of cars looked before they were renovated as part of CTA’s historical fleet.

This time around, we have lots of classic traction photos for your consideration. For whatever reason, many of them were taken in the vicinity of Lawrence and Kimball, terminus of the CTA Brown Line (formerly known as the Ravenswood “L”).

There was a recent fantrip on the CTA “L” system, using historic cars 4271-4272. This sold out quickly, and unfortunately, we were not able to participate. But it did help raise money for two very worthy causes. Besides helping to keep these early 1920s railcars running on the CTA, funds also went to assist the Fox River Trolley Museum recover from the vandalism they suffered last year. We encourage our readers to help with these efforts by contacting those organizations directly.

We do have several images of 4271-4272 from previous fantrips, however (and one, at the top of this page, from one of the last times they were used in regular service).

Many of these images come courtesy of Bill Shapotkin. We hope that you will support Mr. Shapotkin’s efforts by attending his programs, which include the upcoming Hoosier Traction Meet this September. More about that will be found further down in this post. We also have some additional recent photo finds of our own.

Just to dispel any notion that these images always looked this way, this time we have included some “before” shots that you can contrast with the “after” ones. There is a lot of work that goes into making these images look better.

As always, if you can help provide any additional information about these photos, we would love to hear from you.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- A few of our readers have pointed out that in our last couple of posts, clicking on the various images with your mouse would not bring up a larger version of that picture, so you can study it more closely. We have fixed that issue in this new post, and promise we will go back soon and correct it on those two as well.

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

CTA PCC 4380 on the Wentworth line on June 16, 1958, less than a week before the end of streetcar service in Chicago.

CTA PCC 4380 on the Wentworth line on June 16, 1958, less than a week before the end of streetcar service in Chicago.

This is a duplicate slide, but started out as a 1958 Ektachrome slide, where the color layers other than red were unstable and faded badly. This left very little to work with, but I did the best I could.

This is a duplicate slide, but started out as a 1958 Ektachrome slide, where the color layers other than red were unstable and faded badly. This left very little to work with, but I did the best I could.

Here it is again, tweaked by our good friend J. J. Sedelmaier.

Here it is again, tweaked by our good friend J. J. Sedelmaier.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

This and several other similar photos were seriously underexposed.

This and several other similar photos were seriously underexposed.

CTA 2200-series "L" cars at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA 2200-series “L” cars at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA "Met" cars at Kimball Yard, being used either as offices or for storage, in August 1967. (Compare with the picture of these same cars a few years later, showing how they had deteriorated somewhat after being stored outdoors.)

CTA “Met” cars at Kimball Yard, being used either as offices or for storage, in August 1967. (Compare with the picture of these same cars a few years later, showing how they had deteriorated somewhat after being stored outdoors.)

CTA 5001 in the Kimball Yard on July 14, 1961.

CTA 5001 in the Kimball Yard on July 14, 1961.

Restoring this photo was particularly satisfying.

Restoring this photo was particularly satisfying.

CTA 2858 at Kimball on the Ravenswood line on April 14, 1957. I believe the occasion was a charter trip, held by the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. Don's Rail Photos: "2858 was built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 858. In 1913 it was renumbered 2858 and in 1923 it became CRT 2858."

CTA 2858 at Kimball on the Ravenswood line on April 14, 1957. I believe the occasion was a charter trip, held by the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. Don’s Rail Photos: “2858 was built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 858. In 1913 it was renumbered 2858 and in 1923 it became CRT 2858.”

CTA 4063 at Kimball and Lawrence on January 31, 1958.

CTA 4063 at Kimball and Lawrence on January 31, 1958.

CTA 6706 at the Kimball Yard on November 1, 1986. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6706 at the Kimball Yard on November 1, 1986. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6049-6050 at Kimball Yard on March 16, 1980.

CTA 6049-6050 at Kimball Yard on March 16, 1980.

CTA 6041-6042 at Kimball and Lawrence on March 2, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6041-6042 at Kimball and Lawrence on March 2, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 and 3441-3442 at Lawrence and Kimball. These cars were used on a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip in 2000. (John Allen Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 and 3441-3442 at Lawrence and Kimball. These cars were used on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip in 2000. (John Allen Photo)

CTA 2411-2412 have derailed at Kimball Yard on August 25, 1978.

CTA 2411-2412 have derailed at Kimball Yard on August 25, 1978.

Here, a couple of old CTA "Met" cars are being used as either offices or storage at Kimball Yard in April 1974.

Here, a couple of old CTA “Met” cars are being used as either offices or storage at Kimball Yard in April 1974.

CTA 6643-6644 in the Kimball Yard on February 1, 1987.

CTA 6643-6644 in the Kimball Yard on February 1, 1987.

CTA 4387 and 4432 in the Kimball yard on July 25, 1970.

CTA 4387 and 4432 in the Kimball yard on July 25, 1970.

CTA 6165-6166 at Kimball, the outer terminal on the Ravenswood line (today's Brown Line), on May 21, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6165-6166 at Kimball, the outer terminal on the Ravenswood line (today’s Brown Line), on May 21, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6166-6165, working a westbound trip on CTA's Ravenswood Line, approaches the Kimball and Lawrence terminal on June 20, 1952.

CTA 6166-6165, working a westbound trip on CTA’s Ravenswood Line, approaches the Kimball and Lawrence terminal on June 20, 1952.

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on November 13, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on November 13, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 at Kimball and Lawrence., during an NRHS fantrip on December 13, 1998. During the fantrip, these cars were operated between the terminal and the storage yard, for the benefit of ticket-holders. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 at Kimball and Lawrence., during an NRHS fantrip on December 13, 1998. During the fantrip, these cars were operated between the terminal and the storage yard, for the benefit of ticket-holders. (William Shapotkin Photo)

On December 13, 1998, CTA historic cars 4271-4272 are being operated as part of an NRHS fantrip. At left, 3455-3456 has just arrived as an in-service train, and is about to be moved to the yard. The view looks north, off the south end of track 3. (William Shapotkin Photo)

On December 13, 1998, CTA historic cars 4271-4272 are being operated as part of an NRHS fantrip. At left, 3455-3456 has just arrived as an in-service train, and is about to be moved to the yard. The view looks north, off the south end of track 3. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA gate car (either 280 or 390) at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans' Associaiton fantrip in the 1950s. (Ken Rieger Photo)

CTA gate car (either 280 or 390) at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans’ Associaiton fantrip in the 1950s. (Ken Rieger Photo)

As you can see, the original for this 1950s slide was somewhat washed out and devoid of much color.

As you can see, the original for this 1950s slide was somewhat washed out and devoid of much color.

CTA 2769-2770 at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip on August 29, 1994. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA 2769-2770 at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip on August 29, 1994. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA 6101-6102 at Kimball and Lawrence in March 1993. (John J. Le Beau Photo)

CTA 6101-6102 at Kimball and Lawrence in March 1993. (John J. Le Beau Photo)

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on June 12, 1976. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on June 12, 1976. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

It appears CTA 6138 is at the tail end of a train that is approaching the Ravenswood terminal at Kimball and Lawrence in August 1978.

It appears CTA 6138 is at the tail end of a train that is approaching the Ravenswood terminal at Kimball and Lawrence in August 1978.

CTA articulated 5003 near Kimball and Lawrence on September 9, 1958.

CTA articulated 5003 near Kimball and Lawrence on September 9, 1958.

CTA gate car 270 at Kimball yard on September 13, 1953.

CTA gate car 270 at Kimball yard on September 13, 1953.

There is a difference between the faded-out brown here, and "Traction Orange."

There is a difference between the faded-out brown here, and “Traction Orange.”

CTA wooden "L" cars 361 and 257 in the Kimball Yard on February 4, 1951.

CTA wooden “L” cars 361 and 257 in the Kimball Yard on February 4, 1951.

CTA 6103-6104 are at the head of a 6-car Ravenswood train at Kimball and Lawrence on January 23, 1979. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6103-6104 are at the head of a 6-car Ravenswood train at Kimball and Lawrence on January 23, 1979. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

A CTA single-car Skokie Swift train near Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car Skokie Swift train near Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Flatcar S-300 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-300 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-324 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-324 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-329 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-329 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-1500 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-1500 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

A train of CTA 2000s (on the Lake-Dan Ryan line) are on the Loop "L" on September 13, 1976.

A train of CTA 2000s (on the Lake-Dan Ryan line) are on the Loop “L” on September 13, 1976.

The CTA Randolph and Wells station on September 13, 1976. This station has since been replaced by Washington and Wells.

The CTA Randolph and Wells station on September 13, 1976. This station has since been replaced by Washington and Wells.

I was particularly happy that I could improve this picture, which is practically monochrome.

I was particularly happy that I could improve this picture, which is practically monochrome.

At left, CTA's Tower 18, at the junction of Lake and Wells, on September 13, 1976. The view looks north.

At left, CTA’s Tower 18, at the junction of Lake and Wells, on September 13, 1976. The view looks north.

CTA articulated train at Skokie Shops in August 1986. Here, it has been repainted to its original Chicago Rapid Transit Company livery. Don's Rail Photos: '5001 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1947, #6747. It was renumbered 51 in 1963 and acquired by Fox River Trolley Museum in 1986. It was restored as 5001."

CTA articulated train at Skokie Shops in August 1986. Here, it has been repainted to its original Chicago Rapid Transit Company livery. Don’s Rail Photos: ‘5001 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1947, #6747. It was renumbered 51 in 1963 and acquired by Fox River Trolley Museum in 1986. It was restored as 5001.”

CTA Flatcar S-1501 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-1501 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

A CTA work train, powered by 6000-series "L" cars, including S-406, at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

A CTA work train, powered by 6000-series “L” cars, including S-406, at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

The CTA bridge over the Chicago & North Western, used by the Lake-Dan Ryan line, in September 1977.

The CTA bridge over the Chicago & North Western, used by the Lake-Dan Ryan line, in September 1977.

CTA 4271 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA 4271 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The front trucks of CTA 4271, at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The front trucks of CTA 4271, at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

If you are used to seeing old slides that look this way, you may not realize that much of the original color has faded, or that it is even possible to bring it back now.

If you are used to seeing old slides that look this way, you may not realize that much of the original color has faded, or that it is even possible to bring it back now.

A train of CTA 2200-series "L" cars at Clinton on the Lake branch of the Lake-Dan Ryan line in September 1977. the view looks west.

A train of CTA 2200-series “L” cars at Clinton on the Lake branch of the Lake-Dan Ryan line in September 1977. the view looks west.

A train of CTA 2000-series "L" cars, running on the Lake-Dan Ryan line, approaches the bridge over the Chicago & North Western in September 1977, heading westbound.

A train of CTA 2000-series “L” cars, running on the Lake-Dan Ryan line, approaches the bridge over the Chicago & North Western in September 1977, heading westbound.

Bringing back the color in this shot made this photo into something special.

Bringing back the color in this shot made this photo into something special.

A train of CTA 2000-series "L" cars at Clinton on the Lake Street "L" (today's Green Line) in September 1977.

A train of CTA 2000-series “L” cars at Clinton on the Lake Street “L” (today’s Green Line) in September 1977.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with trolley poles, is running on the Evanston branch near Howard on May 28, 1977. Although overhead wire was no longer being used on Evanston, poles were left on a few such cars to serve as backups on the Skokie Swift if needed.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with trolley poles, is running on the Evanston branch near Howard on May 28, 1977. Although overhead wire was no longer being used on Evanston, poles were left on a few such cars to serve as backups on the Skokie Swift if needed.

CTA Line Car S-606 at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977. Don's Rail Photos: "S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum." With the demise of the ITM site in Noblesville, Indiana in 2018, the 606 was acquired by another group, with the intention of restoring it.

CTA Line Car S-606 at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977. Don’s Rail Photos: “S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum.” With the demise of the ITM site in Noblesville, Indiana in 2018, the 606 was acquired by another group, with the intention of restoring it.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

The east side of Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The east side of Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The CTA junction of Lake and Wells, by Tower 18, on September 13, 1976.

The CTA junction of Lake and Wells, by Tower 18, on September 13, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The CTA Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line) on December 11, 1976.

The CTA Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line) on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single car unit on the Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line), on May 28, 1977.

A CTA single car unit on the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line), on May 28, 1977.

CTA 6000s on the Evanston branch at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977.

CTA 6000s on the Evanston branch at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977.

A CTA 6000-series "L" car at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

A CTA 6000-series “L” car at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

Hoosier Traction 2019

This PDF file explains what’s happening in Indianapolis this September 6-7:

hoosiertractionmeet_2019_05_public

Recent Finds

Steinway Lines Birney car 1660 in September 1937, signed for the H line in Pelham Manor, NY. According to a knowledgable historian: "There's a rather long story behind this. Yes, it's a Steinway car, and yes, it's on the TARS line in Westchester County. (The specific line was the route from New Rochelle to Pelham Manor.) Fontaine Fox, a Pelham native and creator of the "Toonerville Trolley" cartoons, said that he used this line as his original inspiration for the cartoon. So when the line was discontinued in 1937, the locals put on a big celebration at which Fox held forth as honored guest. For the occasion, TARS imported the Birney from Queens as the closest thing to the Toonerville Trolley. (Normal service was TARS convertibles or 700s.) The photo shows the car some time before or after the ceremony."

Steinway Lines Birney car 1660 in September 1937, signed for the H line in Pelham Manor, NY. According to a knowledgable historian: “There’s a rather long story behind this. Yes, it’s a Steinway car, and yes, it’s on the TARS line in Westchester County. (The specific line was the route from New Rochelle to Pelham Manor.) Fontaine Fox, a Pelham native and creator of the “Toonerville Trolley” cartoons, said that he used this line as his original inspiration for the cartoon. So when the line was discontinued in 1937, the locals put on a big celebration at which Fox held forth as honored guest. For the occasion, TARS imported the Birney from Queens as the closest thing to the Toonerville Trolley. (Normal service was TARS convertibles or 700s.) The photo shows the car some time before or after the ceremony.”

Prewar Chicago PCC 7010 is at the western terminal of Route 63 - 63rd Street, located at 63rd Place and Narragansett Avenue. After streetcars were cut back to this loop in 1948 (double-ended cars had previously gone a half mile west to Oak Park Avenue) this became a transfer point for buses heading west. This bus is heading to Argo, which is not the name of a suburb, but the name of a factory in suburban Summit that produced Argo corn starch. If you could see the front of the PCC, there were "tiger stripes," intended to make the cars more visible to motorists and pedestrians. PCCs ran on 63rd Street from 1948-52. (William Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Prewar Chicago PCC 7010 is at the western terminal of Route 63 – 63rd Street, located at 63rd Place and Narragansett Avenue. After streetcars were cut back to this loop in 1948 (double-ended cars had previously gone a half mile west to Oak Park Avenue) this became a transfer point for buses heading west. This bus is heading to Argo, which is not the name of a suburb, but the name of a factory in suburban Summit that produced Argo corn starch. If you could see the front of the PCC, there were “tiger stripes,” intended to make the cars more visible to motorists and pedestrians. PCCs ran on 63rd Street from 1948-52. (William Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Here, we see CTA PCC 7236, a postwar product of the St. Louis Car Company. Jeff Wien: "It is on Western Avenue Avenue during the one man period 1955-56. Because of the grass in the foreground, it seems park-like, which was the case where Western Avenue was paralleled by Western Blvd., which I believe extended from Archer to Garfield. I would guess that the slide is on Western Ave south of Archer." (Wien-Criss Archive)

Here, we see CTA PCC 7236, a postwar product of the St. Louis Car Company. Jeff Wien: “It is on Western Avenue Avenue during the one man period 1955-56. Because of the grass in the foreground, it seems park-like, which was the case where Western Avenue was paralleled by Western Blvd., which I believe extended from Archer to Garfield. I would guess that the slide is on Western Ave south of Archer.” (Wien-Criss Archive)

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) car 18, a double-ended product of St. Louis Car Company that closely resembled a PCC but had conventional running gear, at the end of the line in West Chester. Rail service on this long interurban line was replaced by buses in June 1954.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) car 18, a double-ended product of St. Louis Car Company that closely resembled a PCC but had conventional running gear, at the end of the line in West Chester. Rail service on this long interurban line was replaced by buses in June 1954.

CTA 4355 and it's semi-permanently attached mate (not sure of the #) at Marion Street, on the ground level portion of the Lake Street "L", on September 10, 1957.

CTA 4355 and it’s semi-permanently attached mate (not sure of the #) at Marion Street, on the ground level portion of the Lake Street “L”, on September 10, 1957.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 50 (with 44 at left) at the Wheaton yards on September 13, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 50 (with 44 at left) at the Wheaton yards on September 13, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 428 at the Forest Park loop at DesPlaines Avenue on October 10, 1953. Less than a month earlier, CA&E trains stopped running downtown, and a new terminal arrangement was hurriedly put into use, so riders could switch between CA&E and CTA trains. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 428 at the Forest Park loop at DesPlaines Avenue on October 10, 1953. Less than a month earlier, CA&E trains stopped running downtown, and a new terminal arrangement was hurriedly put into use, so riders could switch between CA&E and CTA trains. (Robert Selle Photo)

A three-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train , including cars 316 and 314, as seen from the Halsted Street platform of the Garfield Park "L". The view looks east on June 18, 1953, about three months before CA%E service was cut back to Forest Park. (Robert Selle Photo)

A three-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train , including cars 316 and 314, as seen from the Halsted Street platform of the Garfield Park “L”. The view looks east on June 18, 1953, about three months before CA%E service was cut back to Forest Park. (Robert Selle Photo)

Someone gave me this slide. I am not sure of the circumstances, but it seems to show Blue Bird Coach Lines bus #1.

Someone gave me this slide. I am not sure of the circumstances, but it seems to show Blue Bird Coach Lines bus #1.

This is an interesting photo for several rasons. It shows the temporary ground-level operation on the Garfield Park "L" in the south portion of Van Buren Street, used from 1953-58 while construction of the new Congress rapid transit line was underway in the nearby expressway. But this is not a regular service train-- it's a fantrip for the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. By the time this photo was taken (circa 1955), wooden "L" cars were no longer in use on this line. The second car has been repainted for use in work service. We are at Van Buren and Ogden. In the distance, you can see the old Paulina "L" crossing Ogden. By this time, it was being used by Douglas Park trains to reach the Lake Street "L", as the Pink Line does today.

This is an interesting photo for several rasons. It shows the temporary ground-level operation on the Garfield Park “L” in the south portion of Van Buren Street, used from 1953-58 while construction of the new Congress rapid transit line was underway in the nearby expressway. But this is not a regular service train– it’s a fantrip for the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. By the time this photo was taken (circa 1955), wooden “L” cars were no longer in use on this line. The second car has been repainted for use in work service. We are at Van Buren and Ogden. In the distance, you can see the old Paulina “L” crossing Ogden. By this time, it was being used by Douglas Park trains to reach the Lake Street “L”, as the Pink Line does today.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban box motor 5 at Wheaton in 1949.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban box motor 5 at Wheaton in 1949.

A single CTA wooden "L" car heads east on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L" circa 1955. This was relocated onto the adjacent Chicago & North Western embankment in 1962.

A single CTA wooden “L” car heads east on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L” circa 1955. This was relocated onto the adjacent Chicago & North Western embankment in 1962.

A mother and her two kids have just gotten off a northbound Evanston train of 4000s at Isabella in January 1972. This station closed on July 16, 1973 and within a short period of time, all traces of it were removed, as it was a short distance from the Linden terminal and had low ridership. That same year, the Evanston branch was converted to third rail operation, and overhead wire was removed.

A mother and her two kids have just gotten off a northbound Evanston train of 4000s at Isabella in January 1972. This station closed on July 16, 1973 and within a short period of time, all traces of it were removed, as it was a short distance from the Linden terminal and had low ridership. That same year, the Evanston branch was converted to third rail operation, and overhead wire was removed.

Recent Correspondence

Andre Kristopans
writes:

In 1935 CSL and CRT began exchanging transfers. In 1936 CMC and CRT transfers followed.Some time soon, exact date unknown to me, CRT and West Towns transfers followed, but these were gone sometime after 1938. Each transfer type was its own color as follows:

CRT to CSL – yellow (actually “newsprint?”)
CRT to CMC – green
CRT to West Towns – pink
CSL to CRT – blue
CMC to CRT – unknown to me
CWT to CRT – unknown – any ideas what they looked like?

In 1943 CSL and CMC transfers began and colors were revised:

CRT – CSL – blue
CRT – CMC – green
CMC – CSL – pink

Around 1947 CMC to CSL and CRT became orange. Once CTA was formed all L transfers became blue, both to CTA durface system and to CMC, while surface to CMC remained green and CMC to CTA surface or L remained orange. In 1953 orange transfers were eliminated as former CMC routes were put on regular surface transfers. L transfers remained blue until about 1962 when they became green.

If anybody has any additional information or can offer any corrections, they would be very welcomed!

Jon Roma writes:

I can offer the attached color image of CNS&M/C&NW Ryan Tower, given your recent feature on the subject along with the statement that there are few shots of the location. This is digitized from a slide by unknown photographer that resides in my collection; it’s obviously a railfan excursion taken on or about March 1962. Please feel free to use if you’d like.

We thank all our contributors!

TRACTION AUDIO, NOW AVAILABLE ON COMPACT DISC:

CDLayout33p85

RRCNSLR
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963

Newly rediscovered and digitized after 60 years, most of these audio recordings of Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban trains are previously unheard, and include on-train recordings, run-bys, and switching. Includes both Electroliners, standard cars, and locomotives. Recorded between 1955 and 1963 on the Skokie Valley Route and Mundelein branch. We are donating $5 from the sale of each disc to Kenneth Gear, who saved these and many other original Railroad Record Club master tapes from oblivion.

Total time – 73:14


Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 3Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 2Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 1Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 2Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 1Tape 2 Mundeline pic 3Tape 2 Mundeline pic 2Tape 2 Mundeline pic 1Tape 1 ElectrolinerTape 1 Electroliner pic 3Tape 1 Electroliner pic 2Notes from tape 4Note from tape 2

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.

Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.

Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 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 is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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 230th 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 513,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.

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

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

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

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

More Railroad Record Club Rarities

Waterloo Cedar Falls and Northern car 100. This car is featured on Railroad Record Club LP #2. Don’s Rail Photos: “100 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1914. It was built as a second motor to operate behind the 140s as a two car train. The baggage compartment was a kitchen, and the rear end was an open platform observation. The buffet section was replaced with coach seats in 1918. The car was then rebuilt with a control station and baggage compartment in 1928 and the rear platform was enclosed at that time. It was the last interurban left on the WCF&N when it became diesel freight, and it was donated to the Iowa Chapter of the NRHS in 1956. It was moved to Centerville and operated on the Southern Iowa Ry. When the SI cut back its operation and dieselized, the Iowa Chapter transferred the car to the Iowa Terminal RR in 1966. Shortly after it was repainted and put into charter service, it was destroyed in the carbarn fire early November 24, 1967. 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.”

No one person has been more responsible for preserving the historic artifacts connected with William A. Steventon‘s Railroad Record Club than our good friend Kenneth Gear. A while back, Ken acquired many of the original RRC tape recordings, some of which were never issued.

I have referred before to the RRC output being the “tip of the iceberg,” so to speak, and thanks to Ken, we are beginning to see what the rest of the RRC archive consisted of. While we had already issued some “new” RRC recordings, taken from discs found in the Steventon archive, we have something even more exciting to announce today– newly uncovered audio recordings of the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban, the fabled North Shore Line, unheard for perhaps as much as 60 years.

These recordings have been digitized from original RRC tapes that Ken purchased, and are now available for the first time on compact disc. More details about that will be found at the end of this post.

Because we feel it is important for Ken to get back at least some of the substantial investment he has made, in order to preserve these and other historic materials, we are paying Ken a royalty of $5 for each disc sold. Our humble offerings are already reasonably priced, and we don’t make much money from them. On top of that, the Trolley Dodger has, to date, operated at a loss for every year. Our original losses were in excess of $10k per year. This was reduced to $6k in 2017, and we recently did our taxes and are pleased to report that we cut the loss to just $1400 in 2018.

Our goal with this enterprise is historic preservation and education, to provide an archive where people can get, and exchange information about electric railways. In some ways it is the modern equivalent of what my friend Ray DeGroote calls the “intelligence network” of railfans, which has been around since the 1930s or even earlier, just updated for the Internet age.

It used to be that you had to know somebody to be part of this intelligence network, and information was passed from one person to another. Now, it is accessible to anyone and everyone who wants it, via the world wide web.

With that in mind, our goal has always been to break even, in order to make the Trolley Dodger a self-sustaining enterprise.

But we have to give credit where credit is due. Without Kenneth Gear’s personal sacrifices, it’s possible that these materials would have been lost forever, and would have ended up in a dumpster somewhere. You never would even have known they existed.

That’s why I hope you will help support Ken’s gallant efforts by purchasing a copy of this new CD offering.

Because we are not entirely mercenary, Ken is also sharing dozens of classic railfan photos which he purchased as part of the Railroad Record Club archive. Presumably, all or nearly all of these were taken by the late William A. Steventon (1921-1993) himself, as many reflect the areas he lived, worked, and traveled to in his career.

A few of these we already published, but most of these appear here for the first time.

As always, if you can help provide any additional information about these photos, we would love to hear from you.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

Altoona and Logan Valley car 74. Don’s Rail Photos: “74 was built by Osgood-Bradley Car Co in 1930.”

This photo was originally misidentified, but actually shows Indianapolis Railways Peter Witt car #132, apparently on a fantrip, probably circa 1950. The streetcar was a Master Unit (that was a Brill trade name), built circa 1932-33, making it one of the last such orders before the PCC era. Master Units were supposed to be a standardized car, but in actuality I believe no two orders were exactly the same.

This photo was originally misidentified, but actually shows Indianapolis Railways Peter Witt car #132, apparently on a fantrip, probably circa 1950. The streetcar was a Master Unit (that was a Brill trade name), built circa 1932-33, making it one of the last such orders before the PCC era. Master Units were supposed to be a standardized car, but in actuality I believe no two orders were exactly the same.

A Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train street running in Aurora in 1931. The CA&E was relocated off-street here in 1939.

A Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train street running in Aurora in 1931. The CA&E was relocated off-street here in 1939.

A Capital Transit PCC and bus at Catholic University in the Washington, DC area.

A Capital Transit PCC and bus at Catholic University in the Washington, DC area.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 476, which was featured on Railroad Record Club LP SP-1.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 476, which was featured on Railroad Record Club LP SP-1.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 481.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 481.

Des Moines and Central Iowa cars #1701 and 1704 in the scrap line, November 19, 1939.

Des Moines and Central Iowa cars #1701 and 1704 in the scrap line, November 19, 1939.

Des Moines and Central Iowa #1705 in October 1938.

Des Moines and Central Iowa #1705 in October 1938.

Des Moines and Central Iowa car 1710.

Des Moines and Central Iowa car 1710.

East Broad Top #15 on a rainy day, very likely while Railroad Record Club LP #3 was being recorded.

East Broad Top #15 on a rainy day, very likely while Railroad Record Club LP #3 was being recorded.

Evansville and Ohio Valley car #134.

Evansville and Ohio Valley car #134.

Hagerstown and Frederick #19 in Frederick, MD on May 30, 1939.

Hagerstown and Frederick #19 in Frederick, MD on May 30, 1939.

The same picture cropped.

The same picture cropped.

A Hagerstown and Frederick work car in Fredercik, MD on May 30, 1939.

A Hagerstown and Frederick work car in Fredercik, MD on May 30, 1939.

Hagerstown and Frederick 164.

Hagerstown and Frederick 164.

Illinois Terminal car 285. Don’s rail Photos: “285 was built by St Louis Car in 1914. It was rebuilt as a parlor car in 1024 and as a coach in December 1928. It was air conditioned in August 1938 and got new seating in December 1952. It was sold for scrap to Hyman Michaels Co. on May 16, 1956.”

An Illinois Terminal local on Caldwell Hill in East Peoria about 1936.

An Illinois Terminal local on Caldwell Hill in East Peoria about 1936.

A fuzzy picture of Illinois Power Company loco #1551.

A fuzzy picture of Illinois Power Company loco #1551.

A builder's photo of Illinois Terminal #207.

A builder’s photo of Illinois Terminal #207.

Illinois Terminal 1201 at Peoria. Don’s Rail Photos: “1201 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910 as an express motor with 20 seats at the rear. In 1919 it was rebuilt with a small baggage section at the front and the trucks were changed from Curtis to Baldwin.”

Indiana Railroad box car #550.

Indiana Railroad box car #550.

Indiana Railroad loco #752 waiting for loads at a mine scale.

Indiana Railroad loco #752 waiting for loads at a mine scale.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #64. Howard Pletcher adds, “Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #64 is at the Fort Wayne passenger terminal.”

The Indiana Railroad passenger terminal in Fort Wayne. (Howard Pletcher Collection)

The Indiana Railroad passenger terminal in Fort Wayne. (Howard Pletcher Collection)

Indiana Railroad #93 at Anderson, IN on September 4, 1938.

Indiana Railroad #93 at Anderson, IN on September 4, 1938.

Indiana Railroad box motor #722.

Indiana Railroad box motor #722.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #80 on an Indianapolis local. It was built by Pullman in 1931 and scrapped in 1941.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #80 on an Indianapolis local. It was built by Pullman in 1931 and scrapped in 1941.

Indiana Railroad box motor #115.

Indiana Railroad box motor #115.

Indiana Railroad car #375. Don’s Rail Photos: “375 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1926 as Indiana Service Corp 375. It was ass1gned to IRR as 375 in 1932 and rebuilt as a RPO-combine in 1935. It was sold to Chicago South Shore & South Bend in 1941 as 503 and used as a straight baggage car. It was rebuilt in 1952 with windows removed and doors changed.”

Indiana Railroad car #446.

Indiana Railroad car #446.

Indiana Railroad car #730.

Indiana Railroad car #730.

Indiana Railroad loco #792.

Indiana Railroad loco #792.

The same picture, restored.

The same picture, restored.

Indiana Railroad Vigo with rails ripped out.

Indiana Railroad Vigo with rails ripped out.

Indiana Service Corp., looking forward from car at speed on Spy Run Avenue showing car on #6 line, May 22, 1939.

Indiana Service Corp., looking forward from car at speed on Spy Run Avenue showing car on #6 line, May 22, 1939.

Indiana Service Corporation #820 at Wabash station on August 3, 1936.

Indiana Service Corporation #820 at Wabash station on August 3, 1936.

Indiana Service Corp View across the Broadway bridge, showing double truck car in distance, August 18, 1940. (But what city is this?) Mike Peters writes: “he ISC city car is in Fort Wayne, a block away from the south end of the Broadway line. The bridge carries Bluffton Road and the ISC interurban to Bluffton over the Saint Marys River. A good map of the Ft. Wayne system can be found in “Fort Wayne’s Trolleys” (George Bradley). ISC did provide service in several smaller cities, but these lines did not survive the 1930’s.”

Interstate car #711, ex-Indiana Public Service Corporation 427, on September 3, 1939.

Interstate car #711, ex-Indiana Public Service Corporation 427, on September 3, 1939.

Interstate car 711 on shop siding west of Greencastle on June 3 1939.

Interstate car 711 on shop siding west of Greencastle on June 3 1939.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #94. Don’s Rail Photos: “90 thru 99 were built by Cummings in 1930 as Northern Indiana Ry 350 thru 359. In 1935, they were returned to Cummings, who rebuilt them and sold them to the IRR. They were retired in 1940.”

Indiana Railroad line car 763 at the Muncie station on May 19, 1940.

Indiana Railroad line car 763 at the Muncie station on May 19, 1940.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car 96.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car 96.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #90 at New Castle, IN on July 4, 1936. Note the Woolworth's at right.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #90 at New Castle, IN on July 4, 1936. Note the Woolworth’s at right.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #95 at the Indianapolis terminal.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #95 at the Indianapolis terminal.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #99.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #99.

Indiana Railroad #787.

Indiana Railroad #787.

Lake Erie and Northern car #795.

Lake Erie and Northern car #795.

Lake Erie and Northern car #797.

Lake Erie and Northern car #797.

Lake Erie and Northern car #939.

Lake Erie and Northern car #939.

A Lehigh Valley Transit Allentown Limited on the Liberty Bell Route, descending the ramp at Norristown (where LVT shared tracks with the Philadelphia & Western for access to Philadelphia, at least until 1949).

A Lehigh Valley Transit Allentown Limited on the Liberty Bell Route, descending the ramp at Norristown (where LVT shared tracks with the Philadelphia & Western for access to Philadelphia, at least until 1949).

Lehigh Valley Transit lightweight high-speed car 1002, presumably in Allentown PA.

Lehigh Valley Transit lightweight high-speed car 1002, presumably in Allentown PA.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (photo restored).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (photo restored).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (unrestored photo).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (unrestored photo).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #106.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #106.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #14.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #14.

Mason City and Clear Lake steeple cab #52.

Mason City and Clear Lake steeple cab #52.

Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway yard.

Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway yard.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway snow plow.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway snow plow.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway trolley.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway trolley.

A nice right-of-way photo with no information, other than the date-- March 31, 1936.

A nice right-of-way photo with no information, other than the date– March 31, 1936.

Jeff Wien: “TMER&T, route 13: Clybourn Downtown Milwaukee.”
.

No information.

No information.

This is a three-car train of Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speeds in multiple-unit service on a fantrip, circa 1938-40.

This is a three-car train of Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speeds in multiple-unit service on a fantrip, circa 1938-40.

No information (photo restored).

No information (photo restored).

No information (unrestored photo).

No information (unrestored photo).

Does ST F Co RR stand for Santa Fe? At any rate, this is car #54 at Farmington, MO.

Does ST F Co RR stand for Santa Fe? At any rate, this is car #54 at Farmington, MO.

Salt Lake and Utah loco #101.

Salt Lake and Utah loco #101.

Sand Springs Railway (Oklahoma) loco #1001.

Sand Springs Railway (Oklahoma) loco #1001.

Unidentified car and person. Mike Peters: “The photo of 817 and employee would also be Fort Wayne. After passenger operations ceased, this motor was retained for switching the Spy Run power plant and several nearby industries. The roster in “Fort Wayne and Wabash Valley Trolleys” (CERA #122) shows the 817 as being retired in 1952.”

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Union Electric Railway loco #80.

Union Electric Railway loco #80.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Washington and Old Dominion car #44 and a Railway Express Agency truck in Rosslyn VA.

Washington and Old Dominion car #44 and a Railway Express Agency truck in Rosslyn VA.

A Washington and Old Dominion locomotive.

A Washington and Old Dominion locomotive.

A Washington and Old Dominion RPO (Railway Post Office) on a mail run outside Rosslyn VA.

A Washington and Old Dominion RPO (Railway Post Office) on a mail run outside Rosslyn VA.

The Washington and Old Dominion shops.

The Washington and Old Dominion shops.

Recent Finds

The CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park in July 1955. This is an unusal view, looking west from Desplaines Avenue. At left, you can just barely see some streetcar tracks, which were used by West Towns Railways trolleys no later than 1948. That could be a CTA Route 17 bus, and you can also see some Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban cars in the station. The CA&E cut back service to here in 1953.

The CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park in July 1955. This is an unusal view, looking west from Desplaines Avenue. At left, you can just barely see some streetcar tracks, which were used by West Towns Railways trolleys no later than 1948. That could be a CTA Route 17 bus, and you can also see some Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban cars in the station. The CA&E cut back service to here in 1953.

CTA 1775 at Cermak and Kostner on March 21, 1954, about two months before streetcar service ended on Route 21.

CTA 1775 at Cermak and Kostner on March 21, 1954, about two months before streetcar service ended on Route 21.

CTA 7213 on Route 49 - Western on August 2, 1949. This car would later become the last Chicago streetcar to operate.

CTA 7213 on Route 49 – Western on August 2, 1949. This car would later become the last Chicago streetcar to operate.

North Shore Line 254

North Shore Line 254 “at freight station on “L”structure near Loop – January 27, 1962.”

The North Shore Line shops interior in Milwaukee, September 24, 1961.

The North Shore Line shops interior in Milwaukee, September 24, 1961.

Chicago Surface Lines 5258 at Lowe Avenue in the 1940s (not sure of main street, perhaps 79th?).

Chicago Surface Lines 5258 at Lowe Avenue in the 1940s (not sure of main street, perhaps 79th?).

CTA 6180, a one-man car, picks up passengers at an

CTA 6180, a one-man car, picks up passengers at an “L” station in the early 1950s.

CTA 7216, a St. Louis Car Company PCC, is northbound on Route 36 – Broadway in the 1950s. Jeff Wien: “Cars laying over on 119th at Morgan.”

CTA 4362, a Pullman PCC, on Route 8 – Halsted, most likely in the late 1940s. Jeff Wien adds, “Rt. 8 car has just pulled off of Broadway onto Waveland to head south on Halsted to 79th Street loop. Photo ca 1951 when Halsted was operated with PCCs, most Pullmans.”

TRACTION AUDIO, NOW AVAILABLE ON COMPACT DISC:

CDLayout33p85

RRCNSLR
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963

Newly rediscovered and digitized after 60 years, most of these audio recordings of Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban trains are previously unheard, and include on-train recordings, run-bys, and switching. Includes both Electroliners, standard cars, and locomotives. Recorded between 1955 and 1963 on the Skokie Valley Route and Mundelein branch. We are donating $5 from the sale of each disc to Kenneth Gear, who saved these and many other original Railroad Record Club master tapes from oblivion.

Total time – 73:14


Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 3Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 2Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 1Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 2Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 1Tape 2 Mundeline pic 3Tape 2 Mundeline pic 2Tape 2 Mundeline pic 1Tape 1 ElectrolinerTape 1 Electroliner pic 3Tape 1 Electroliner pic 2Notes from tape 4Note from tape 2

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 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 is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

gh1

This is our 229th 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 507,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.

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

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

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

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

75 Years of Chicago’s Subways

Mayor Kelly celebrates the first ceremonial trips (using one track and only two of the stations) on the State Street Subway in April 1943, just prior to a mayoral election.

Mayor Kelly celebrates the first ceremonial trips (using one track and only two of the stations) on the State Street Subway in April 1943, just prior to a mayoral election.

Chicago’s first subway opened 75 years ago today, on October 17, 1943. To help commemorate this milestone in Chicago history, we wrote the book Building Chicago’s Subways, which is now available from us and wherever Arcadia Publishing books are sold. More information can be found at the end of this post, or via our Online Store.

Today, we are featuring over 100 images that were considered for use in our new book, but for various reasons did not make the cut. We hope you will enjoy them.

The story of Chicago’s subways is a long an convoluted one, beginning 150 years ago with the first transportation tunnels under the Chicago River, and continuing with the extensive system of freight tunnels built in the early 1900s downtown.

Wrangling over what type of subways to build, where to build them, and how to pay for them, continued for 40 years and divided Chicagoans. Then, in 1938, the City of Chicago and the FDR Administration agreed on plans to build the State Street and Dearborn-Milwaukee Subways, which opened in 1943 and 1951.

In turn, this was all part of a larger plan which included Chicago’s first true expressway in Congress Street (now the I-290 Eisenhower). Construction for the highway began in 1949 and ultimately relocated the entire Garfield Park “L” into the Congress rapid transit line, also known as the West Side Subway.

Construction of Chicago’s first subways began in 1938, and the Congress line was not 100% complete until 1960, so this was a huge construction project that lasted for more than 20 years and transformed the city forever.

The story of how this came to be is detailed in my new book.

David Sadowski

PS- I salute those Chicagoans old enough to remember the opening of the Chicago Subway. Those first-day riders included Raymond DeGroote Jr., the dean of Chicago railfans, and my two uncles Robert and Raymond Wakefield, all still going strong at age 88.

A Review of Building Chicago’s Subways by Kenneth Gear

Readers of the Trolley Dodger will certainly enjoy reading David’s new book BUILDING CHICAGO’S SUBWAYS.

I’ve visited Chicago about a dozen times in my railfanning pursuits and my interests were always confined to the yards, mainlines, and junctions of the freight railroads. I was only vaguely aware that Chicago even had a subway system. After reading this book, my next trip to the windy city will definitely include a ride on the subway.

As David has done with his previous book CHICAGO TROLLEYS, he has taken a very complex subject, spanning many decades and personalities, and whittled it down to the essential facts. He then presents these facts in a clear, understandable, and entertaining manner. The photographs are all of excellent quality, properly exposed and in razor sharp focus. David is apparently very particular and extremely selective when it comes to the photos in his books. The photographs don’t only showcase the transit equipment and property, but also include many photos of the people involved with the story of the subways. He has also included scenes of Chicago’s neighborhoods, buildings, and streets that were affected by the subways.

These are historical photos that will be of interest to any Chicagoans who have an eye for the past. The book tells the interesting story of the subway’s part in hastening the demise of the Chicago Aurora, and Elgin and the impact subways had on the famous “L”. Also much insight is given on the building of the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower Expressway). I was also very interested in the chapter about the freight tunnels under the city. I recently watched the 1950 movie UNION STATION with William Holden and the climax of the film takes place in those tunnels.

The photographic efforts and concise writing go a long way to making David’s Arcadia books among the best the publisher has to offer.

How Chicago Kept its Subway Plan on Track

I wrote to Ron Grossman at the Chicago Tribune several months ago, suggesting they do an article for the 75th anniversary of the Chicago subway. Here is that article.

Cable cars in the LaSalle tunnel.

Cable cars in the LaSalle tunnel.

A river tunnel entrance during cable car days. This is either the Washington or LaSalle tunnel.

A river tunnel entrance during cable car days. This is either the Washington or LaSalle tunnel.

I believe this shows the Van Buren river tunnel during cable car days, prior to its lowering for use by streetcars.

I believe this shows the Van Buren river tunnel during cable car days, prior to its lowering for use by streetcars.

The Van Buren Street river tunnel in streetcar days.

The Van Buren Street river tunnel in streetcar days.

The Washington Street tunnel in 2017. (Roman Vovchak Photo)

The Washington Street tunnel in 2017. (Roman Vovchak Photo)

The Washington Street tunnel in 2017. (Roman Vovchak Photo)

The Washington Street tunnel in 2017. (Roman Vovchak Photo)

The steel tubes used to lower the LaSalle Street streetcar tunnel in 1911-1912. This same method was used in 1939 for the State Street Subway.

The steel tubes used to lower the LaSalle Street streetcar tunnel in 1911-1912. This same method was used in 1939 for the State Street Subway.

Chicago Tunnel Company trains hauling ashes away from the freight tunnels, probably for use as landfill.

Chicago Tunnel Company trains hauling ashes away from the freight tunnels, probably for use as landfill.

The freight tunnels were used to haul merchandise as well as coal and ashes beneath Chicago's downtown.

The freight tunnels were used to haul merchandise as well as coal and ashes beneath Chicago’s downtown.

The freight tunnels used electric locomotives and overhead power.

The freight tunnels used electric locomotives and overhead power.

A freight tunnel intersection.

A freight tunnel intersection.

Chicago's freight tunnels.

Chicago’s freight tunnels.

Chicago badly needed subways to help reduce congestion on the Loop "L", here shown in the early 1900s at Lake and Wells.

Chicago badly needed subways to help reduce congestion on the Loop “L”, here shown in the early 1900s at Lake and Wells.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, shown here in Chicago in 1943, approved federal funding for Chicago's first subways.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, shown here in Chicago in 1943, approved federal funding for Chicago’s first subways.

Indirect lighting was used in the newe Moscow Subway, shown here in 1936, and would also feature in Chicago's tube.

Indirect lighting was used in the newe Moscow Subway, shown here in 1936, and would also feature in Chicago’s tube.

A New York subway passage in 1937, showing the widespread use of subway tile. Chicago's subways were in turn influenced by New York's far more extensive system.

A New York subway passage in 1937, showing the widespread use of subway tile. Chicago’s subways were in turn influenced by New York’s far more extensive system.

The results of a fire that destroyed several wooden el cars on New York's system.. Wooden cars were banned from use in the Chicago subways for safety reasons.

The results of a fire that destroyed several wooden el cars on New York’s system.. Wooden cars were banned from use in the Chicago subways for safety reasons.

Wooden "L" cars were also less safe in crashes.

Wooden “L” cars were also less safe in crashes.

Subway plans from the late 1930s, showing new railcars similar to contemporary ones used in New York.

Subway plans from the late 1930s, showing new railcars similar to contemporary ones used in New York.

The BMT Bluebirds in New York.

The BMT Bluebirds in New York.

The Chicago Rapid Transit Company ordered four sets of articulated rapid transit trainsets, which were delivered in 1947-48 and largely patterned after the Bluebirds used by Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit (BMT).

The Chicago Rapid Transit Company ordered four sets of articulated rapid transit trainsets, which were delivered in 1947-48 and largely patterned after the Bluebirds used by Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit (BMT).

Chicago's subways were opened using 1920s-era steel rapid transit cars, where the conductors had to stand between cars to open and close the doors.

Chicago’s subways were opened using 1920s-era steel rapid transit cars, where the conductors had to stand between cars to open and close the doors.

The first subway construction site.

The first subway construction site.

The first subway construction site.

The first subway construction site.

An air lock used in subway construction.

An air lock used in subway construction.

Early subway construction.

Early subway construction.

An air lock used in subway construction.

An air lock used in subway construction.

Mining clay in the Chicago subway.

Mining clay in the Chicago subway.

A subway tunnel before the addition of concrete.

A subway tunnel before the addition of concrete.

Mining clay in the subway.

Mining clay in the subway.

Early "cut and cover" construction near a subway station.

Early “cut and cover” construction near a subway station.

The two steel tubes for the State Street Subway's crossing of the Chicago River, before they were sunk into place in 1939.

The two steel tubes for the State Street Subway’s crossing of the Chicago River, before they were sunk into place in 1939.

Subway construction.

Subway construction.

The old Masonic Temple, world's tallest building when it first opened in 1892, efll victim to subway construction in 1939 due to its foundation being in the way of construction. Here it is seen being torn down.

The old Masonic Temple, world’s tallest building when it first opened in 1892, efll victim to subway construction in 1939 due to its foundation being in the way of construction. Here it is seen being torn down.

In the Loop, building the subways involved a mining operation and used similar equipment.

In the Loop, building the subways involved a mining operation and used similar equipment.

Subway construction, circa 1939-40.

Subway construction, circa 1939-40.

Building subway kiosks on State Street in 1942.

Building subway kiosks on State Street in 1942.

A typical mezzanine station entrance in the Loop.

A typical mezzanine station entrance in the Loop.

The new State Street tube prior to opening.

The new State Street tube prior to opening.

An obviously posed photo prior to the opening of the State Street Subway in 1943.

An obviously posed photo prior to the opening of the State Street Subway in 1943.

The unfinished subway, circa 1941.

The unfinished subway, circa 1941.

The continuous platform in the State Street Subway, 1943.

The continuous platform in the State Street Subway, 1943.

The new subway featured automatic block signals. If a train went past a red signal, brakes were automatically applied. There were also timed signals on curves. Previously, most of the "L" used "on-sight" operation.

The new subway featured automatic block signals. If a train went past a red signal, brakes were automatically applied. There were also timed signals on curves. Previously, most of the “L” used “on-sight” operation.

CRT motorman Charles R. Blade activates a signal override in the State Street Subway, early in 1943.

CRT motorman Charles R. Blade activates a signal override in the State Street Subway, early in 1943.

The incline leading to the north end of the State Street Subway in early 1943.

The incline leading to the north end of the State Street Subway in early 1943.

A snowy scene at the north portal of the State Street Subway, early 1940s.

A snowy scene at the north portal of the State Street Subway, early 1940s.

A map of the completed State Street Subway in 1944.

A map of the completed State Street Subway in 1944.

The first ceremonial train in the State Street Subway, April 1943.

The first ceremonial train in the State Street Subway, April 1943.

Final touches on the State Street Subway in April 1943.

Final touches on the State Street Subway in April 1943.

An old-time Chicago political boss enters the State Street Subway.

An old-time Chicago political boss enters the State Street Subway.

Mayor Kelly on the ceremonial train, surrounded by reporters.

Mayor Kelly on the ceremonial train, surrounded by reporters.

A ticket taker at the April 1943 event.

A ticket taker at the April 1943 event.

The unfinished Dearborn tube in 1943. Work was halted due to materials shortages during WWII.

The unfinished Dearborn tube in 1943. Work was halted due to materials shortages during WWII.

The north State Street Subway portal in 1943.

The north State Street Subway portal in 1943.

A northbound train enters south portal of the State Street Subway in the 1940s.

A northbound train enters south portal of the State Street Subway in the 1940s.

No tracks here yet.

No tracks here yet.

Subway riders downtown could get a "walking transfer," good for 15 minutes, to change to "L" trains above.

Subway riders downtown could get a “walking transfer,” good for 15 minutes, to change to “L” trains above.

In 1950, the first of the CTA's new 6000-series rapid transit cars, on display in the North Water Street stub-end terminal.

In 1950, the first of the CTA’s new 6000-series rapid transit cars, on display in the North Water Street stub-end terminal.

When the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway opened in 1951, parts of the "L" were closed. Here. we see a Logan Suare-bound train on the Paulina portion of the Metropolitan "L", soon the be closed, probably in 1950.

When the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway opened in 1951, parts of the “L” were closed. Here. we see a Logan Suare-bound train on the Paulina portion of the Metropolitan “L”, soon the be closed, probably in 1950.

The north portal of the Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway at Evergreen Street.

The north portal of the Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway at Evergreen Street.

Construction of the Van Buren temporary trackage in 1951-52.

Construction of the Van Buren temporary trackage in 1951-52.

From 1951 to 1958, the Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway ended at a stub-end terminal at LaSalle and Congress. The station was then called Congress Terminal.

From 1951 to 1958, the Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway ended at a stub-end terminal at LaSalle and Congress. The station was then called Congress Terminal.

The Garfiled Park temporary tracks in the south half of Van Buren Street. The old Throop Street shops are at right.

The Garfiled Park temporary tracks in the south half of Van Buren Street. The old Throop Street shops are at right.

At right, the ramp going down from the existing Met main line at right to the an Buren temporary trackage at street level. On the left, the Congress median line looks like it is almost ready to be put into service.

At right, the ramp going down from the existing Met main line at right to the an Buren temporary trackage at street level. On the left, the Congress median line looks like it is almost ready to be put into service.

In 1958, work was being done to connect the Douglas Park "L" with the new Congress line.

In 1958, work was being done to connect the Douglas Park “L” with the new Congress line.

The old Met main line "L" crossed the footprint of the Northwest Expressway, then being built in 1958, and had to be shored up. Once the Congress line opened, this section of "L" was removed. The new highway opened in 1960.

The old Met main line “L” crossed the footprint of the Northwest Expressway, then being built in 1958, and had to be shored up. Once the Congress line opened, this section of “L” was removed. The new highway opened in 1960.

A crossover in the Congress median.

A crossover in the Congress median.

The Congress line opens in June 1958 with three branches (Congress, Douglas, and Milwaukee).

The Congress line opens in June 1958 with three branches (Congress, Douglas, and Milwaukee).

In the late 1950s, the CTA envisioned a sort of "bus rapid transit" line in the median of the planned Southwest (now Stevenson) Expressway. Three buses are coupled together and are running along a guide rail, and presumably would uncouple and go their separate ways at the end of the journey,

In the late 1950s, the CTA envisioned a sort of “bus rapid transit” line in the median of the planned Southwest (now Stevenson) Expressway. Three buses are coupled together and are running along a guide rail, and presumably would uncouple and go their separate ways at the end of the journey,

The DesPlaines Avenue CTA terminal, after its 1959 renovation. You can just barely see where the CA&E tracks were rebuilt at right. Unfortunately, no trains ran on them.

The DesPlaines Avenue CTA terminal, after its 1959 renovation. You can just barely see where the CA&E tracks were rebuilt at right. Unfortunately, no trains ran on them.

The new Congress rapid transit line, aka the "West Side Subway" as it is below grade.

The new Congress rapid transit line, aka the “West Side Subway” as it is below grade.

Garfield Park trains crossing DesPalines Avenue at grade in Forest Park. Tracks in the foreground were once used by West Towns Railways streetcars.

Garfield Park trains crossing DesPalines Avenue at grade in Forest Park. Tracks in the foreground were once used by West Towns Railways streetcars.

The CTA issued these button in 1969-70 when two new expressway median lines were opened. The Kennedy line also included a new one-mile subway along Kimball and Milwaukee.

The CTA issued these button in 1969-70 when two new expressway median lines were opened. The Kennedy line also included a new one-mile subway along Kimball and Milwaukee.

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 is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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)

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Railroad Record Club Treasure Hunt, Part 2

1 Selection of Steventon tapes mostly unreleased

1 Selection of Steventon tapes mostly unreleased

Following up on our recent post William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club (September 24, 2018), guest author Kenneth Gear continues with a detailed rundown on his latest discoveries.

I have been interested in historic preservation for a long time, and it’s not every day that anyone comes across original material such as this. Suddenly, out of nowhere it seems, previously unknown, unissued audio recordings have emerged for some long-vanished steam and electric railroads, along with 16mm motion picture film, and various artifacts related to the Railroad Record Club’s 42 issued LPs, in their various forms. It seems like a miracle that somehow, it all survived to be rescued from oblivion.

Getting this done involved a tremendous financial sacrifice on Ken’s part, as he is of modest means. I hope that he will be able to recoup at least some of his substantial investment in the future. I am sure he will appreciate any contributions you may be able to offer him, towards the cost of transferring some of these reel-to-reel tapes and 16mm movie films to digital.

You can find Part 1 here: Railroad Record Club Treasure Hunt (July 30, 2017)

-David Sadowski

PS- Our new book Building Chicago’s Subways is now available for immediate shipment.  If you already pre-ordered it, your copy is already on its way to you.  We are excited to have had the opportunity to tell the story of this exciting chapter in Chicago history.  Details on how to order are at the end of this post.

Railroad Record Club Treasure Hunt, Part 2

It’s been over a year since I acquired a large portion of the William Steventon estate. The Railroad Record Club items that I purchased last year have enabled David and I to piece together a fairly complete history of the RRC and to more fully appreciate the time and effort Mr. Steventon put into producing these records. The homemade 78rpm records alone proved to be an invaluable resource. Not only did they provide us with some wonderful recordings, most of which hadn’t been heard in over fifty years, they revealed the pre-history of the club and offered a glimpse into the infancy of railroad field recording.

We were able to hear the very first railroad recording Steventon made– B&O trains at Riverdale, Maryland in 1953. We also finally completed our quest to get a copy of every single released RRC record digitized and put on CDs. We are now only in need of two samplers, the 5th and 6th years. More interesting information was garnered from examining original record jacket artwork and paste up boards, as well as the metal print blocks. We were also able to compile a list of records re-issued on 12″ stock and find out what was necessary for it to happen and the cost of doing it.

Photographs from his personal collection were scanned and published in the Trolley Dodger for all to enjoy. I think the effort that went into keeping all this material from ending up in a dumpster was well worth the time and expense and I’m happy to have been involved.

In spite of this, I knew the job was only half finished. There was much more that needed to be saved and time was running out. Those tapes I wrote about under the heading “what I left behind” in the first treasure hunt story needed to be preserved. There were still a big box of photos, reams of correspondence, the metal master discs for the 12″ reissues and lots and lots of sealed records.

The estate dealer was quite adamant that this stuff had to go…and quickly! I purchased all that I could, but I certainly could not afford to buy anything else and asked for some time to raise the money. As I tried to come up with the extra cash needed, months went by and the emails ceased. For a while it seemed that all this great material would be lost. Still, I squirreled away what money I could when I could and slowly, much too slowly, I approached his asking price. With the funds in hand, I emailed the estate dealer putting in the subject line that I HAD the money for the remaining Steventon estate items. Even as I composed that email I couldn’t be sure that the entire lot wasn’t already in some land fill rotting away. He answered me the next day, but it seemed a lot longer then that to me. His first two sentences were a relief:  

Ken, good to hear from you.  Yes, it is all as we left it a year ago.

There was one complication that needed to be addressed. I could not make the trip up to him in Wisconsin this year as I had done before. All the items would have to be shipped to me in New Jersey.

The estate dealer was agreeable to packing up the items and doing the weighing and making the transportation arrangements, but again there was a complication. This was his busy season and he would be working extensively out of town.  He would not be able to devote much time to this effort for the next few weeks. A little progress was made here and there through the rest of June and I purchased boxes and packing material in July. I was a little apprehensive about shipping old open reel tapes and vinyl records during the hottest part of the summer anyway, so I just had to be patient. In early August progress was made and on the 13th I received the long-awaited email:

The last box is packed.  You’ll have a pallet coming that’s right around 400 pounds, perhaps a touch over.  Nine boxes to be delivered to the YRC terminal. 

Several more delays would still be encountered, not the lest of which was the local hardware store’s forklift needing repairs. The hardware store, for a $20 fee, would be used to lift the pallet onto the truck. At last, in early September, with all hurdles cleared, a newly-repaired forklift placed the shipment on to the truck. Finally, the second half of the Steventon estate’s Railroad Record Club items were on their way to me.

A few days later I heading to the local YRC terminal to receive the long-awaited shipment. After some paperwork in the office, I backed a borrowed ¾-ton pick-up truck to the indicated bay. Soon a forklift lowered the last of the Railroad Record Club items from the Steventon estate into the truck bed. I now had a night of treasure hunting to look forward to!

I had sort of “cherry picked” the first half of the estate, so I knew that a great unexpected find was rather doubtful, but I did come across a few surprises.

THE TAPES

2 Tapes appear to be in good condition

2 Tapes appear to be in good condition

3 Tape with hand written track listing

3 Tape with hand written track listing

4 More unreleased Steventon audio

4 More unreleased Steventon audio

5 Lots of interesting material on these tapes

5 Lots of interesting material on these tapes

6 Still more intersting tapes

6 Still more intersting tapes

7 Unreleased audio this is why I bought the whole lot

7 Unreleased audio this is why I bought the whole lot

8 Steventon tapes

8 Steventon tapes

9 More Stevnton tapes

9 More Stevnton tapes

10 Even more tapes

10 Even more tapes

11 Small reels -the master tapes for the 78rpm records

11 Small reels -the master tapes for the 78rpm records

12 Another view of the Small reels -the master tapes for the 78rpm records

12 Another view of the Small reels -the master tapes for the 78rpm records

13 A box full of the Small reels -the master tapes for the 78rpm records

13 A box full of the Small reels -the master tapes for the 78rpm records

14 Close up of the 78rpm record master tapes

14 Close up of the 78rpm record master tapes

15 Another Close up of the 78rpm record master tapes

15 Another Close up of the 78rpm record master tapes

16 78rpm master tapes showing condition of tapes-not too bad

16 78rpm master tapes showing condition of tapes-not too bad

17 close up of 78rpm master tape showing condition

17 close up of 78rpm master tape showing condition

18 BC Electric and Montreal & South Counties tapes with Steventon letter

18 BC Electric and Montreal & South Counties tapes with Steventon letter

19 Montreal & South Counties tape with Steventon letter

19 Montreal & South Counties tape with Steventon letter

20 BC Electric tape with Steventon letter

20 BC Electric tape with Steventon letter

21 Close up of the BC Electric and Montreal & South Counties tapes

21 Close up of the BC Electric and Montreal & South Counties tapes

22 Railroad Record Club Master tapes

22 Railroad Record Club Master tapes

23 Master tape for record 26

23 Master tape for record 26

24 A stack of 22 Railroad Record Club Master tapes

24 A stack of 22 Railroad Record Club Master tapes

25 master tape Railroad Record Club number 16

25 master tape Railroad Record Club number 16

26 master tape Railroad Record Club number 15

26 master tape Railroad Record Club number 15

27 master tape Railroad Record Club with memo

27 master tape Railroad Record Club with memo

28 master tape Railroad Record Club number 17

28 master tape Railroad Record Club number 17

29 master tape Railroad Record Club number 18

29 master tape Railroad Record Club number 18

30 Note on box containing master tape Railroad Record Club number 18

30 Note on box containing master tape Railroad Record Club number 18

31 Two master tapes for record number 3

31 Two master tapes for record number 3

32 Two master tapes for record number 3 showing condition

32 Two master tapes for record number 3 showing condition

33 master tape Railroad Record Club number 7

33 master tape Railroad Record Club number 7

34 master tapes Railroad Record Club number 10

34 master tapes Railroad Record Club number 10

35 master tape Railroad Record Club number 23 with memo

35 master tape Railroad Record Club number 23 with memo

36 master tape Railroad Record Club number 17

36 master tape Railroad Record Club number 17

The reel to reel tapes that I had left behind last year were the real reason I went to all this trouble and expense to acquire the rest of the estate. I’m sure I did not get any of the tapes that were actually in Steventon’s recorder when he was trackside, but they may no longer exist. Perhaps he transferred these “field tapes” to newer tape stock, in an effort to preserve them and some of these duplicates are what I received. There is at least one recording I know he made that is not among my tapes. In the liner notes of Record Number 20, Steventon writes that the cab ride onboard NYC # 1441 with his father at the throttle was edited down from over two hours of tape. I would have been very happy to find 4 or 5 reels of tape marked “cab ride with Dad” but it was not to be. What I did find, however, is some very good and interesting stuff, most of which has never been released on a Railroad Record Club LP.

One tape that was a bit of a surprise was a 4″ reel of tape marked NYS&W. Of all the railroads in the New York area, why the Susquehanna? If he recorded this tape while in New York to ride and record the Queensboro Bridge trolley, which had to be prior to April 1957 when that line shut down, then why not record PRR K-4s on the New York & Long Branch which lasted until October of that year? Or all those electric locomotives on the NYC and NYNH&H? Perhaps he did record some or all these railroads and I just don’t have the tapes. Anything is possible, but I have found no evidence that he ever did. I’ll just have to wait until I have the NYS&W tape put on CD to find out just what the attraction may have been.

Other interesting finds include three 5″ reels of a fan trip operated by the Northern Pacific Railroad on June 20, 1957. 4-8-4 # 2686 pulled the train from St. Paul, MN to Staples. One tape is labeled “NP 2686-LV MPLS,” the second NP 2686 coal dock stop,” and the last, “NP 2686 LV Staples.” There was also a negative of the NP 2686 at Staples found among the photographs. Other steam and/or diesel tapes are labeled “CPR,” “NKP Ft. Wayne,” “N&W,” and “Soo Line.”

The traction fans among us will be happy to know there is plenty for them. The CNS&M has several tapes devoted to it. One tape is marked “CNS&M switching at Rondout and Mundelein”. There is a cut on Record 26 of locomotive # 459 switching at Rondout, but not at Mundelein. Another North Shore tape is marked “Mundelein Run” and another simply ” Mundelein”. One more CNS&M tape has “Electroliner” written on the box.

There is a tape marked “ITS 202”, apparently Steventon preferred Illinois Traction System to Illinois Terminal. On Record 25 Steventon wrote in the liner notes, “We had just arrived (at Harristown, IL) on interurban No. 202 where we had made an “on train” recording east from Springfield. We alighted and watched the 202 fade into the distance. This was the last sight and sound we had of the Illinois Terminal as an interurban. The “on train” recording of 202 and a streamliner is scheduled for release at a later date.” It never was. I don’t know about the streamliner recording, I may or may not have it, but I will consider it a privilege to be involved with releasing the 202 recording for him.

There are also tapes of the Cedar Rapids & Iowa City (CRANDIC), Charles City Western, Toledo & Eastern, and Capital Transit. Canadian traction fans are not overlooked either. There is a 5″ reel of the Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto Railway. There are also two 5″ reels, one each, of the BC Electric and the Montreal & Southern Counties. These two tapes were recorded by Eugene Van Dusen, and the accompanying letter to Steventon, plus a copy of it sent to Elwin Purington, were found among some RRC papers I have. Another reel of tape not recorded by Steventon is “Cincinnati Street Railway Car 187 12/13/51.” Finding this was a nice surprise. I don’t know who did record it, but Steventon did not start making recordings until 1953.

Here is the entire list of the tape reels, excluding 21/2″ reels which I’ll list separately, and the master tapes for the LPs,

REEL TO REEL TAPES

INFORMATION MARKED ON TAPE BOXES

4″ reels:

1. NYS&W

5″ reels:

1. CPR-J. Van Brocklin
2. Soo Line
3. T&E NKP Diesel-NKP Ft. Wayne
4. N&W
5. N&W from Salem
6. N&W Billy + Larry on end
7. NP 2686 Lv Mpls-6/20/57
8. NP 2686 coal dock stop
9. NP 2686 Lv Staples
10. B. C. Electric
11. Montreal & Southern Counties
12. Potomac Edison #5
13. Potomac Edison H&F last run radio program
14. CNS&M -switching at Rondout and Mundelein
15. Mundelein Run
16. Capital Transit co 1151
17. ITS car 202
18. Cedar Rapids and Iowa City 5/31/53
19. CCW 5/18/54*
20. CCW CC to Colwell
21. Toledo & Eastern
22. PRR GG-1s

7″ reels:

1. Railroading in Spooner Wisconsin
2. CNS&M Electroliner
3. N. St. C & Toronto
4. Johnstown Traction and Altoona & Logan Valley
5. Cincinnati Street Railway car 187 12/13/51

The next bunch of tapes are smaller reels. These 21/2″ reels are in their original manufacture’s boxes and are marked only with a Railroad name and a catalog number. The catalog numbers correspond with the catalog numbers on the 10″ 78rpm acetate records that I acquired with the first half of the estate. As producing these records was a very time-consuming task, Steventon saved time by making a master tape for each record. The master tape would contain his spoken introductions followed by the train sounds. I bought over sixty of these small master tapes, and a large number have never been put on the regular Railroad Record Club releases. They contain sounds of railroads I was completely unaware Steventon ever recorded, such as L&N, Southern, and Virginian. This collection also contains the Queensboro Bridge trolley, the IND subway, and the Third Avenue EL recordings Steventon made in New York City.

21/2″ reels:

1. Potomac Edison, 4 reels
2. Shenandoah Central, 2 reels
3. Capital Transit, 3 reels
4. Altoona & Logan Valley, 2 reels
5. B&O, 9 reels
6. Shaker Heights RT, 3 reels
7. PRR, 5 reels
8. NKP, 1 reel
9. St. Louis PS, 1 reel
10. Illinois Terminal, 2 reels
11. ICRR 3 reels
12. N&W, 1 reel
13. WM Rwy, 1 reel
14. Baltimore Transit, 2 reels
15. Senate Subway, 1 reel
16. Scranton Transit, 1 reel
17. Rochester Subway, 1 reel
18. CB&Q, 2 reels
19. Niagara, St. C & T, 2 reels
20. Virginian, 2 reels
21. Southern, 2 reels
22. Queensboro Bridge, 2 reels
23. Wabash, 1 reel
24. Third Ave. EL, 2 reels
25. Soo Line, 5 reels
26. L&N, 2 reels
27. St. Elizabeth Hospital, 1 reel (used steam switcher to move coal hoppers)
28. Omaha Road, 1 reel
29. NYC IND Subway, 1 reel
30. Unidentified, 4 reels

This is not a complete set of all the master tapes made for the 78rpm records to be sure, but it’s most of them. I consider it a small miracle that any survive at all! I am not an audio expert, but in my opinion, uninformed as it may be, these tapes appear to be in reasonably good condition. I would think that the tapes would be able to withstand a few more plays, enough to be digitized at least. Neither David nor I have the equipment to attempt this and I think it would be ill advised of us to try anyway. The tapes are old and were not stored in archival conditions. I’m sure the prudent course of action is to entrust any work on them to a professional.

The last batch of tapes are the master tapes made for the released Railroad Record Club LPs. There are different size reels, some tapes are only of one side of the LP while others have both sides on the same reel. Some are in good condition and some are not. Some I have multiple copies of and a few of the LPs I have no tapes for, Rather then make a complete list of every reel I will simply list the few LPs I have NO master tapes for.

No master tapes:

RRC 21
RRC 24
RRC 29
RRC 31
RRC SP-2
RRC SP-4
RRC SP-6

Most of these reels are 7″ with only a few smaller or larger. The most interesting master tapes are the reels for RRC 3 EBT/D&RGW. There are two 7″ reels that most likely have the original release version of the record, the one with William Steventon’s narration. There are also two 5″ reels, one marked “sounds only” and the other labeled “Narrative.” Since Steventon removed his voice from the 12″reissue of the record, the “Narrative” tape must contain just the voice of Elwin Purington doing the new narration.

I’m not sure just what to do with these master tapes. Some are in rough shape and all these sounds are on the released Railroad Record Club LPs. It certainly would be a considerable expense to digitize them all and no new sounds would be gained. For now, I’ll store them in the best possible conditions that I can provide and perhaps one day a clear path of action will present itself.

MOVIE FILMS

1 Steventon Film that should be all trains

1 Steventon Film that should be all trains

2 Capital Transit B&W Night Film

2 Capital Transit B&W Night Film

3 Steventon film

3 Steventon film

4 Pennsy and B&O film

4 Pennsy and B&O film

5 Back of Kodachrome box

5 Back of Kodachrome box

6 Front of kodachrome box

6 Front of kodachrome box

I found several rolls of 16mm movie film within the boxes of audio tapes. Fortunately, Steventon was very good at labeling everything. He inserted little slips of paper into the film boxes listing the contents of the films. Unfortunately, the majority are family home movies. Most are of Steventon’s son Seth. His first day of school, Christmases, and birthday parties. There were six 100-foot reels that should be all trains.

16mm movies;

1. 100-foot reel but only about 50 feet of film. Labeled “Pennsy Fan Trip and B&O near Riverdale.”
2. 100-foot reel, full, labeled “Canada Term”. I’m not sure what that is supposed to indicate. I unspooled a few feet of film and the first few frames are without a doubt a steeple cab locomotive.
3. 100-foot reel, full, B&W, labeled “Cap Transit Night Film.”
4. 100-foot reel, full, labeled “EBT Reel 1.”
5. 100-foot reel, full, labeled “EBT Reel 2.”
6. 100-foot reel, full, labeled “Negative 1R Freight” Also written on box “bad footage.”

PRINT BLOCKS

1 Selection of print blocks

1 Selection of print blocks

2 More print blocks

2 More print blocks

3 Still more print blocks

3 Still more print blocks

4. Print block for very early RRC traction logo

4. Print block for very early RRC traction logo

5. Railroad Record Club logo print block

5. Railroad Record Club logo print block

6 Another style Railroad Record Club logo print block

6 Another style Railroad Record Club logo print block

7 Interurban car fron LP Sound Scrapbook-Traction

7 Interurban car fron LP Sound Scrapbook-Traction

8 Interurban car fron LP Sound Scrapbook-Traction in two sizes

8 Interurban car fron LP Sound Scrapbook-Traction in two sizes

9 PRR steamer from 1st edition of RRC 10 in two sizes

9 PRR steamer from 1st edition of RRC 10 in two sizes

10 D&RGW locomotive from the 1st edition of the LP the Siverton Train

10 D&RGW locomotive from the 1st edition of the LP the Siverton Train

11A Print block for NKP LP

11A Print block for NKP LP

12 Ad for RRC 25

12 Ad for RRC 25

13 Ad for RRC 25 reversed

13 Ad for RRC 25 reversed

14 Print block for large ad

14 Print block for large ad

15 Print block for large ad reversed

15 Print block for large ad reversed

16 Ad for traction watch fobs

16 Ad for traction watch fobs

17 Ad for steam LPs

17 Ad for steam LPs

18 Ad for steam LPs reversed

18 Ad for steam LPs reversed

19 Strange RRC ad

19 Strange RRC ad

20 Strange RRC ad printed version

20 Strange RRC ad printed version

I also acquired a good number of print blocks, which are mostly quite small and were used in the RRC advertisements.  I have a bunch of print blocks of the LP covers, all about the size of a postage stamp. They were used in ads and in the catalogs. There are a few complete ads that mostly feature a single record release. One large ad of interest is a very 1960’s, almost psychedelic illustration of a steam locomotive looming over a record player. Smoke is shooting from it’s stack and entwined within the billows of smoke are such things as a whistle blowing, a box cab electric locomotive, and a steam train. LPs are seen flying through the air and the words “steam and electric recordings” in twisted snake-like lettering fills the upper portion. Wild and unexpected. I would certainly like to know if this ad ever appeared anywhere in print.

I did not make a list of these small print blocks, there are just too many. I did photograph a representative selection of them. These photos will give a good idea of what is in the collection.

RECORDS

1 41 copies of RRC 3

1 41 copies of RRC 3

2 18 copies of RRC 5

2 18 copies of RRC 5

3 RCA test pressing for Sound Scrapbook Steam showing notation on upper left of sleeve

3 RCA test pressing for Sound Scrapbook Steam showing notation on upper left of sleeve

4 RCA test pressing for Illinois Terminal one of only 3 good discs

4 RCA test pressing for Illinois Terminal one of only 3 good discs

5 Back of RCA test pressing for Illinois Terminal

5 Back of RCA test pressing for Illinois Terminal

6 Close up of RCA test pressing for Illinois Terminal

6 Close up of RCA test pressing for Illinois Terminal

7 Close up of RCA test pressing for NKP

7 Close up of RCA test pressing for NKP

8 RCA test pressing for CN showing damage

8 RCA test pressing for CN showing damage

9 Metal press stamp

9 Metal press stamp

10 Metal press stamp with cardboard sleeve

10 Metal press stamp with cardboard sleeve

11 RRC Nashville Metal press stamp

11 RRC Nashville Metal press stamp

12 Metal press stamps in cardboard sleeves for RRC4 B&O

12 Metal press stamps in cardboard sleeves for RRC4 B&O

13 3 RRC Nashville Metal press stamps

13 3 RRC Nashville Metal press stamps

14 Metal press stamp for RRC LP

14 Metal press stamp for RRC LP

15 Railroad Record Club SP-4 boxes and sleeves

15 Railroad Record Club SP-4 boxes and sleeves

16 Record jackets for each of the 3 records in the SP-4 set

16 Record jackets for each of the 3 records in the SP-4 set

17 Label for 1st edition of record 1 side 1 of RRC-SP4

17 Label for 1st edition of record 1 side 1 of RRC-SP4

18 Label for 2nd edition of record 1 side 1 of RRC-SP4

18 Label for 2nd edition of record 1 side 1 of RRC-SP4

19 Label for 3rd edition of record 1 side 1 of RRC-SP4

19 Label for 3rd edition of record 1 side 1 of RRC-SP4

Since the estate dealer would only sell me the tapes unless I bought the entire lot, including the remainder of the RRC LP stock, I had no choice but to buy them. I’ll admit I would not have wanted to see all these mint condition, still sealed LPs go in the trash, but what am I going to do with them and where am I going to store them? These questions I’m still contemplating. However, these concerns are secondary to preserving and digitizing the tapes. I have a few options, I can rent a table at a few railroadiania swap meets, contact a few local hobby stores and see if they are willing to sell some, and David and I have been thinking of making them available through the blog.

I’ll have to carefully consider my options. It would be nice to make a little of my money back and put it towards digitizing tapes. For the record, here is a list of the 12″ remasters. They are all still sealed and, for the most part, in mint condition. A few may have a bend or crease in the jackets and a few copies of RRC 20 have brown water stains in the lower right corner.

12″ remaster LPs:

41 copies of RRC 3, EBT/D&RGW
18 copies of RRC 5, D7rgw
36 copies of RRC 8 CN
29 copies of RRC 3 15, CB&Q
34 copies of RRC 16, Westside Lumber
25 copies of RRC 20, NYC/C&IM (6 copies have water damage)
15 copies of RRC 26, CNS&M Freight
22 copies of RRC 29, NKP 779

Included with the unsold record stock were several mint copies of the original 10″ LPs:

10″ LPs:
1 copy RRC 2, WCF&N
1 copy RRC 4, B&O
2 copies of RRC 5, D&RGW
1 copy RRC 7, N&W
1 copy RRC 8, CN
1 copy RRC 10, PRR
1 copy RRC 16, Westside Lumber
1 copy RRC 17, Soo Line
1 copy RRC 19, DM&IR
1 copy RRC 20, NYC/C&IM
8 copies of RRC 28, Charles City Western
1 copy RRC 29, NKP 779
1 copy RRC SP-2 NP 2626

Twenty-four RCA test pressing were included in the sale, ten 12″ pressings and fourteen 10″. All these pressings are stamped on one side only and on the paper sleeve of two of the 12″ pressings there is a hand-written note: “Masters will be 12 inch”. This is the one rather disheartening part of the story. All but three of these test pressings are in very poor condition. The accrete has flaked off in large chips. When I removed the disc from the paper sleeve to determine its condition, a black snowfall often resulted. I’m not sure what to do with these, they are really just trash now. I will photograph the label of each one for my archive but after that, I just don’t know. The three good discs are two 12″ pressings for both sides of RRC 15, CB&Q. It’s lucky that the only undamaged 12″ RCA test pressings are for the two sides of the same record. The one good 10″ disc is for side 2 of RRC 25, Illinois Terminal.

The metal stamping plates vary in condition. I was able to inspect these plates while at the dealer’s property last July, so I knew what to expect. I turned them down last year to save my money for what I considered the good stuff, the artwork and 78rpm records. All the original RCA stamp plates were lost in 1973, necessitating the 12″ remaster program. These plates are the Nashville-made stamps made in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. As I remember it, all 17 master plates were in the dealer’s warehouse. I only looked at them briefly but the top few were scratched and dented. Now, if I wanted the tapes, I had to buy them. Here I did a little dealing. Since these plates were a bit heavier than the records and I was paying for shipment by the pound, I convinced the dealer to choose a few of the stamps that were in the best condition. Those in poor condition he would not charge me for and he could discard them. The archivist in me wanted to save them all, but compromises must occasionally be made.

In all I got twelve of these stamps, five are 14″ and 7 are 12″.

I ended up with a bunch of returned records as well. Numbering somewhere around fifteen or twenty, these records were returned by buyers dissatisfied with them.  Most of them have a note attached with the buyer’s name and his complaint. Things such as scratches, surface noise, and various clicks and pops were the most often cited reasons for the return.

An interesting find was various copies of the records that comprise the three-record set of SP-4. I was able to put together a set of each of the three pressings this set had. A surprise was a set of these records not in the display box that they came in, but in three separate record jackets. Each jacket had the same drawing of CSS&SB MU #108 that appeared on the box lid. Perhaps this was some sort of test printing or the original idea for the jackets. I may never know but I’m sure it is a unique set.

PHOTOGRAPHS

NP 4-8-4 2686

NP 4-8-4 2686

CA&E Elgin train on street in Aurora IL 1931

CA&E Elgin train on street in Aurora IL 1931

Capital Transit PCC and bus Catholic University

Capital Transit PCC and bus Catholic University

D&RGW 476 locomotive featured on SP-1

D&RGW 476 locomotive featured on SP-1

D&RGW 481

D&RGW 481

Des Moines & Central Iowa car 1710

Des Moines & Central Iowa car 1710

EBT 15 on a rainy day very likely while record 3 was being recorded

EBT 15 on a rainy day very likely while record 3 was being recorded

Evansville & Ohio Valley car 134

Evansville & Ohio Valley car 134

Ill Terminal car 285

Ill Terminal car 285

Ill Terminal local on Caldwell Hill East Pearia about 1936

Ill Terminal local on Caldwell Hill East Pearia about 1936

Indiana box car 550

Indiana box car 550

Indiana RR 752 waiting for loads at mine scale

Indiana RR 752 waiting for loads at mine scale

Indiana RR car 64

Indiana RR car 64

Indiana RR car 93 at Anderson IN September 4 1938

Indiana RR car 93 at Anderson IN September 4 1938

Indiana RR Vigo with rails ripped out.

Indiana RR Vigo with rails ripped out.

Interstate car 711 ex-IPSC 427 September 3 1939

Interstate car 711 ex-IPSC 427 September 3 1939

Interstate car 711 on shop siding west of Greencastle June 3 1939

Interstate car 711 on shop siding west of Greencastle June 3 1939

Interurban car 44 and REA truck Rosslyn VA

Interurban car 44 and REA truck Rosslyn VA

MC&CL RR car 34

MC&CL RR car 34

MC&CL Steeple cab 52

MC&CL Steeple cab 52

Nice right of way photo but no info other than date March 31 1936

Nice right of way photo but no info other than date March 31 1936

S T F Co RR 54 Farmington MO

S T F Co RR 54 Farmington MO