More Buses, Trolleys, and Trains

This amazing photo is from a glass plate negative we recently purchased, and shows a Chicago Union Traction streetcar RPO (railway post office) unpowered trailer car. CUT existed between 1899 and 1908, which helps date the photo. This car may previously have been a cable car trailer, before being pressed into mail service.

This amazing photo is from a glass plate negative we recently purchased, and shows a Chicago Union Traction streetcar RPO (railway post office) unpowered trailer car. CUT existed between 1899 and 1908, which helps date the photo. This car may previously have been a cable car trailer, before being pressed into mail service.

Instead of trains, planes, and automobiles, today we have a generous helping of classic bus, trolley, and train images courtesy of noted transit historian William Shapotkin. We thank Bill very much for sharing these with our readers. Even if you are not a huge fan of buses per se, and some electric traction fans aren’t, you still may appreciate seeing some of these locations, which offer views that you typically don’t see here on this blog. Many are contemporary to other streetcar pictures we have run, and show what types of equipment the CTA was running along with the “L” cars and streetcars that we often feature.

On the other hand, if you do like rubber-tired vehicles, then “hop on the bus, Gus!” And even if you don’t, chances are there are still plenty of railed vehicles here to keep you happy.

-David Sadowski

Please note: All photos in this section are from the collections of William Shapotkin.

This photo shows an old wooden Met car on the CTA's Kenwood shuttle in the 1950s. The view looks east from the Indiana Avenue station. The south side main line continues off to the right. Service on the Kenwood branch ended in 1957.

This photo shows an old wooden Met car on the CTA’s Kenwood shuttle in the 1950s. The view looks east from the Indiana Avenue station. The south side main line continues off to the right. Service on the Kenwood branch ended in 1957.

This image, showing CTA bus 3676 on Route 82A, was not identified, but it clearly shows the Logan Square "L" terminal with connecting bus transfer area in the early 1960s.

This image, showing CTA bus 3676 on Route 82A, was not identified, but it clearly shows the Logan Square “L” terminal with connecting bus transfer area in the early 1960s.

CTA buses at the Western and 79th loop.

CTA buses at the Western and 79th loop.

The old South Shore Line station in Gary, Indiana in July 1984. (Paul Johnsen Photo)

The old South Shore Line station in Gary, Indiana in July 1984. (Paul Johnsen Photo)

CTA Route 59 bus 5610 is at 59th and State on April 26, 1972.

CTA Route 59 bus 5610 is at 59th and State on April 26, 1972.

CTA trolley bus 9392 is at the Montrose and Narragansett loop in 1965. This loop has since been removed.

CTA trolley bus 9392 is at the Montrose and Narragansett loop in 1965. This loop has since been removed.

A Metra train stops at the Mont Clare station on the former Milwaukee Road West Line on April 13, 1999. The original station at this location was demolished in 1964, and my father and I sifted through the rubble. We found several tickets, some dating back to the 1880s, which we donated to a local historical society. As far as I know, these are still on display at the Elmwood Park Public Library.

A Metra train stops at the Mont Clare station on the former Milwaukee Road West Line on April 13, 1999. The original station at this location was demolished in 1964, and my father and I sifted through the rubble. We found several tickets, some dating back to the 1880s, which we donated to a local historical society. As far as I know, these are still on display at the Elmwood Park Public Library.

Chicao, IL: looking south on Holden Court (under teh south side "L") toward grade-separated crossing with the St. Charles Air Line from 15th Street in March 2000. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Chicao, IL: looking south on Holden Court (under the south side “L”) toward grade-separated crossing with the St. Charles Air Line from 15th Street in March 2000. (William Shapotkin Photo)

The Roosevelt Road streetcar extension, crossing the Illinois Central on its way back from the Field Museum and Soldier Field. The date is unknown, but service ended in 1953.

The Roosevelt Road streetcar extension, crossing the Illinois Central on its way back from the Field Museum and Soldier Field. The date is unknown, but service ended in 1953.

CTA 518 at Halsted and 75th on February 22, 1954. Streetcar service on Halsted ended three months later. (James J. Buckley Photo)

CTA 518 at Halsted and 75th on February 22, 1954. Streetcar service on Halsted ended three months later. (James J. Buckley Photo)

CTA 652 and 678 pass each other at Halsted and 75th on February 22, 1954. (James J. Buckley Photo)

CTA 652 and 678 pass each other at Halsted and 75th on February 22, 1954. (James J. Buckley Photo)

CTA 6148 at Halsted and 75th on February 22, 1954. (James J. Buckley Photo)

CTA 6148 at Halsted and 75th on February 22, 1954. (James J. Buckley Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 434 at the Seashore Trolley Museum in July 1963.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 434 at the Seashore Trolley Museum in July 1963.

A Chicago Aurora & Elgin freight train at National Street in Elgin. The style of Kodachrome slide mount dates this picture to between 1955 and 1959. (Although passenger service ended in 1957, freight continued for nearly two more years.)

A Chicago Aurora & Elgin freight train at National Street in Elgin. The style of Kodachrome slide mount dates this picture to between 1955 and 1959. (Although passenger service ended in 1957, freight continued for nearly two more years.)

CSL 5130. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This is an E/B 31st car, having just crossing under the South Side 'L'. View looks west (from Wabash)." We ran another picture of 5130 on the same route on our previous post Spring Forward (April 19, 2018).

CSL 5130. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This is an E/B 31st car, having just crossing under the South Side ‘L’. View looks west (from Wabash).” We ran another picture of 5130 on the same route on our previous post Spring Forward (April 19, 2018).

CSL 5154. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This is a W/B 31st car at State St (South Side "L" in background). View looks east." Again, we previously ran another picture of this same car on the same route in our post Spring Forward (April 19, 2018).

CSL 5154. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This is a W/B 31st car at State St (South Side “L” in background). View looks east.” Again, we previously ran another picture of this same car on the same route in our post Spring Forward (April 19, 2018).

CTA bus 2566 is at 119th and Western, running on Route 49A.

CTA bus 2566 is at 119th and Western, running on Route 49A.

CTA bus 5723 is at the Western and 79th loop, probably in the 1960s.

CTA bus 5723 is at the Western and 79th loop, probably in the 1960s.

CTA bus 6541 is at the Western and 79th loop in 1953. Meanwhile, a postwar PCC (built by the St. Louis Car Co.) goes around the loop. Streetcar service on Western ended in June 1956. Jeff Wien writes, "The caption states that it is 1953 in this photo. I would guess 1948 not long after the loop opened. There is virtually no landscaping anywhere and the sidewalks look like they were recently laid. Later pictures of this loop showed green grass and bushes which was typical of CTA loops until they decided to asphalt over everything (ie: Clark-Arthur loop)." Andre Kristopans: "Bus 6541 at 79th/Western is definitely soon after loop opened. After 79th was converted, this spot is where 79th buses loaded, and 49A’s loaded about three bus lengths back, on the left side of the driveway (see 2578 shot following for new location)."

CTA bus 6541 is at the Western and 79th loop in 1953. Meanwhile, a postwar PCC (built by the St. Louis Car Co.) goes around the loop. Streetcar service on Western ended in June 1956. Jeff Wien writes, “The caption states that it is 1953 in this photo. I would guess 1948 not long after the loop opened. There is virtually no landscaping anywhere and the sidewalks look like they were recently laid. Later pictures of this loop showed green grass and bushes which was typical of CTA loops until they decided to asphalt over everything (ie: Clark-Arthur loop).” Andre Kristopans: “Bus 6541 at 79th/Western is definitely soon after loop opened. After 79th was converted, this spot is where 79th buses loaded, and 49A’s loaded about three bus lengths back, on the left side of the driveway (see 2578 shot following for new location).”

CTA bus 2578, running on Route 49A, is at the Western and 79th loop. When PCCs were introduced to Western Avenue in 1948, buses were substituted on the north and south ends of the line, which were spun off into extensions of Route 49. New loops were built, this being the one on the south end of the line.

CTA bus 2578, running on Route 49A, is at the Western and 79th loop. When PCCs were introduced to Western Avenue in 1948, buses were substituted on the north and south ends of the line, which were spun off into extensions of Route 49. New loops were built, this being the one on the south end of the line.

CTA bus 5066 is turning north from Leland onto Western, running Route 49B in 1958. Here, riders could change to the Ravenswood "L", today's Brown Line. The station has since been rebuilt. Jeff Wien adds, "I believe that the photo of CTA 5066 at Western & Leland was taken in 1956 rather than 1958 as stated in the caption. Route 49 was converted to motor bus in June 1956. The photo shows the streetcar tracks still exposed as well as the overhead wires in place. I would imagine that the wires would have been removed by 1958, and I seem to recall that the City paved Western Avenue not long after the streetcars were removed. The City built the obnoxious overpass at Western and Belmont shortly after the streetcars were removed in 1956."

CTA bus 5066 is turning north from Leland onto Western, running Route 49B in 1958. Here, riders could change to the Ravenswood “L”, today’s Brown Line. The station has since been rebuilt. Jeff Wien adds, “I believe that the photo of CTA 5066 at Western & Leland was taken in 1956 rather than 1958 as stated in the caption. Route 49 was converted to motor bus in June 1956. The photo shows the streetcar tracks still exposed as well as the overhead wires in place. I would imagine that the wires would have been removed by 1958, and I seem to recall that the City paved Western Avenue not long after the streetcars were removed. The City built the obnoxious overpass at Western and Belmont shortly after the streetcars were removed in 1956.”

Passengers board CTA bus 5470 at the Western and Berwyn loop on Chicago's north side. Route 49B was the northern extension of the Western line.

Passengers board CTA bus 5470 at the Western and Berwyn loop on Chicago’s north side. Route 49B was the northern extension of the Western line.

CTA bus 3528 is on Route 54B (South Cicero) on Cicero at 26th, circa the late 1950s.

CTA bus 3528 is on Route 54B (South Cicero) on Cicero at 26th, circa the late 1950s.

CTA bus 2543 is heading east on 103rd Street at Longwood Drive on Route 103 (103rd-106th Streets) in the late 1950s. The building directly behind the bus is now occupied by a Starbucks. Our resident south side expert M. E. writes, "Not showing in this picture (because of the trees) is Chicago's only castle, on the northwest corner of 103rd and Longwood. (Longwood is at the bottom of the "hill". Did you know: The land atop the "hill" is geologically called Blue Island? It begins north of 87th St. where the Dan Ryan's Woods toboggan slide was.)" On the other hand, Stu Slaymaker says, "The shot of ACF-Brill bus that is labeled, 103rd and Longwood, was actually taken at 111th and Longwood. My old neighborhood. Out of the picture behind the photographer, is the R. I. Suburban Line Morgan Park-111th station. The used car lot on the right corner, was a Texaco station in the 1960s. The trees are so lush, you can't see the Walker Branch Library, at the top of the hill."

CTA bus 2543 is heading east on 103rd Street at Longwood Drive on Route 103 (103rd-106th Streets) in the late 1950s. The building directly behind the bus is now occupied by a Starbucks. Our resident south side expert M. E. writes, “Not showing in this picture (because of the trees) is Chicago’s only castle, on the northwest corner of 103rd and Longwood. (Longwood is at the bottom of the “hill”. Did you know: The land atop the “hill” is geologically called Blue Island? It begins north of 87th St. where the Dan Ryan’s Woods toboggan slide was.)” On the other hand, Stu Slaymaker says, “The shot of ACF-Brill bus that is labeled, 103rd and Longwood, was actually taken at 111th and Longwood. My old neighborhood. Out of the picture behind the photographer, is the R. I. Suburban Line Morgan Park-111th station. The used car lot on the right corner, was a Texaco station in the 1960s. The trees are so lush, you can’t see the Walker Branch Library, at the top of the hill.”

CTA 3449 is on Route 31 (31st Street). Not sure which cross street the streetcar is on.

CTA 3449 is on Route 31 (31st Street). Not sure which cross street the streetcar is on.

CSL 3425 is on Route 31 (31st Street) at Pitney Court. However, the date provided (1946) must be wrong, since this line was not converted to bus until February 29, 1948. (Thanks to Daniel Joseph for pointing that out.)

CSL 3425 is on Route 31 (31st Street) at Pitney Court. However, the date provided (1946) must be wrong, since this line was not converted to bus until February 29, 1948. (Thanks to Daniel Joseph for pointing that out.)

CTA 5493 is heading south from the Western and Berwyn loop, on Route 49B (North Western). This picture was taken after streetcar service ended in 1956, as the tracks appear to already be paved over and overhead wires removed.

CTA 5493 is heading south from the Western and Berwyn loop, on Route 49B (North Western). This picture was taken after streetcar service ended in 1956, as the tracks appear to already be paved over and overhead wires removed.

On August 9, 1953 CTA bus 5306 heads west on Route 6 - Van Buren Street at Racine, next to new temporary Garfield Park "L" trackage that went into service the following month. at right, you can see the existing "L" structure, which was torn down the following year.

On August 9, 1953 CTA bus 5306 heads west on Route 6 – Van Buren Street at Racine, next to new temporary Garfield Park “L” trackage that went into service the following month. at right, you can see the existing “L” structure, which was torn down the following year.

CTA bus 5499 is at DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park, running on Route 17 - Westchester, which replaced the Westchester "L" in 1951.

CTA bus 5499 is at DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park, running on Route 17 – Westchester, which replaced the Westchester “L” in 1951.

CTA 2365 is operating on Route 58 - Ogden at 26th and Cicero Avenue in the late 1950s.

CTA 2365 is operating on Route 58 – Ogden at 26th and Cicero Avenue in the late 1950s.

CTA 6814 is on 115th Street at Michigan Avenue on Route 115 in the 1960s. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This view (correctly identified as 115th/Michigan) looks east."

CTA 6814 is on 115th Street at Michigan Avenue on Route 115 in the 1960s. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This view (correctly identified as 115th/Michigan) looks east.”

CTA 2718 and 2734 at 74th and Damen.

CTA 2718 and 2734 at 74th and Damen.

CTA 3620 at 54th Avenue in Cicero, the end of the line for the Douglas Park "L" (now the Pink Line).

CTA 3620 at 54th Avenue in
CTA 3620 at 54th Avenue in Cicero, the end of the line for the Douglas Park “L” (now the Pink Line).

CTA 2603 at 119th and Western, the south end of Route 49A.

CTA 2603 at 119th and Western, the south end of Route 49A.

CTA 6532 at the Western and 79th loop, running on Route 79.

CTA 6532 at the Western and 79th loop, running on Route 79.

Chicago & West Towns 848 at the DesPlaines Avenue CTA terminal on August 7, 1980. The second overpass, behind the bus, was for the Chicago Great Western freight line. That bridge and tracks have since been removed. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

Chicago & West Towns 848 at the DesPlaines Avenue CTA terminal on August 7, 1980. The second overpass, behind the bus, was for the Chicago Great Western freight line. That bridge and tracks have since been removed. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

Westbound Rock Island train #113 at the 91st Street depot on April 5, 1970. Our resident south side epert M. E. adds, "The caption says this view is "at the 91st Street depot." Not quite. The view faces north. The train is curving from west (along 89th St.) to south. Notice the railroad crossing signals and gates in the background. That trackage joined with the CRI&P traffic to the east. On that trackage ran the B&O Capitol Limited on its way to Washington DC, as captured in https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/proofs288.jpg , although in that photo the Capitol Limited is inbound to Chicago."

Westbound Rock Island train #113 at the 91st Street depot on April 5, 1970. Our resident south side epert M. E. adds, “The caption says this view is “at the 91st Street depot.” Not quite. The view faces north. The train is curving from west (along 89th St.) to south. Notice the railroad crossing signals and gates in the background. That trackage joined with the CRI&P traffic to the east. On that trackage ran the B&O Capitol Limited on its way to Washington DC, as captured in https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/proofs288.jpg , although in that photo the Capitol Limited is inbound to Chicago.”

The interlocking levers at the 91st Street Rock Island Tower on July 3, 1969.

The interlocking levers at the 91st Street Rock Island Tower on July 3, 1969.

The lineup board at the Rock Island 91st Street Tower on July 3, 1969.

The lineup board at the Rock Island 91st Street Tower on July 3, 1969.

The interlocking levers at the Rock Island's 61st Street Tower on January 5, 1969.

The interlocking levers at the Rock Island’s 61st Street Tower on January 5, 1969.

Tower man Roy Bliss and Assistant Tower man Jack Poehron are flagging all trains by the burned-out Rock Island 61st Street Tower on April 20, 1967. The wooden tower had opened in 1898.

Tower man Roy Bliss and Assistant Tower man Jack Poehron are flagging all trains by the burned-out Rock Island 61st Street Tower on April 20, 1967. The wooden tower had opened in 1898.

Rock Island train #11 (with engine #621) passes the burned-out 61st Street Tower on April 20, 1967, the day after the fire. 61st was the end of the four-track section running from LaSalle Street Station in downtown Chicago.

Rock Island train #11 (with engine #621) passes the burned-out 61st Street Tower on April 20, 1967, the day after the fire. 61st was the end of the four-track section running from LaSalle Street Station in downtown Chicago.

Rock Island train #19, as seen from the 61st Street Tower.

Rock Island train #19, as seen from the 61st Street Tower.

Rock Island 61st Street Tower on December 8, 1968. (Looking north at movable point crossing- RI "in" (L), NYC "out" (R).

Rock Island 61st Street Tower on December 8, 1968. (Looking north at movable point crossing- RI “in” (L), NYC “out” (R).

The Rock Island 91st Street Tower on April 5, 1970.

The Rock Island 91st Street Tower on April 5, 1970.

The Rock Island's 91st Street Tower, where the railroad crossed the PRR "Panhandle" route, as it looked on August 17, 1974. As you can see, the tower has received a new coat of paint since the last picture.

The Rock Island’s 91st Street Tower, where the railroad crossed the PRR “Panhandle” route, as it looked on August 17, 1974. As you can see, the tower has received a new coat of paint since the last picture.

Baltimore & Ohio #5, the Capitol Limited, passing by the Beverly Junction Tower one hour and 50 minutes late, on April 5, 1970.

Baltimore & Ohio #5, the Capitol Limited, passing by the Beverly Junction Tower one hour and 50 minutes late, on April 5, 1970.

CTA bus 8829 is at Ashland and 95th in 1973. Daniel Joseph adds, "If the destination sign is reliable, I believe this bus is on the #45 Ashland Downtown and not on #9 Ashland."

CTA bus 8829 is at Ashland and 95th in 1973. Daniel Joseph adds, “If the destination sign is reliable, I believe this bus is on the #45 Ashland Downtown and not on #9 Ashland.”

CTA 2528 is at Ogden and Cermak on Route 58 on April 29, 1961. Bill Shapotkin adds, "Yes, this is indeed Cermak/Ogden -- the view looks west."

CTA 2528 is at Ogden and Cermak on Route 58 on April 29, 1961. Bill Shapotkin adds, “Yes, this is indeed Cermak/Ogden — the view looks west.”

CTA 5863 at the Ashland and 95th Street terminal, south end of Route 9, on June 20, 1973. (John Le Beau Photo)

CTA 5863 at the Ashland and 95th Street terminal, south end of Route 9, on June 20, 1973. (John Le Beau Photo)

Chicago & West Towns bus 777 at the CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal on March 17, 1974. The terminal has since been redone. The two sets of stairs on DesPlaines Avenue appear to provide a way for pedestrians to cross a busy street where there are no stoplights. (John Le Beau Photo)

Chicago & West Towns bus 777 at the CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal on March 17, 1974. The terminal has since been redone. The two sets of stairs on DesPlaines Avenue appear to provide a way for pedestrians to cross a busy street where there are no stoplights. (John Le Beau Photo)

CTA "New Look" bus 9441, running on Route 17 - Westchester, is at the DesPlaines terminal on June 28, 1977. Since the previous picture was taken, the set of stairs on the west side of DesPlaines Avenue has been removed. Since the other stair still appears to be in use, it seems as though the CTA decided to extend the walkway to the platform area, so that commuters would not need to go up and down so many stairs.

CTA “New Look” bus 9441, running on Route 17 – Westchester, is at the DesPlaines terminal on June 28, 1977. Since the previous picture was taken, the set of stairs on the west side of DesPlaines Avenue has been removed. Since the other stair still appears to be in use, it seems as though the CTA decided to extend the walkway to the platform area, so that commuters would not need to go up and down so many stairs.

CTA 9461 is at Catalpa and Broadway, operating on Route 84 - Peterson on September 1, 1980. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 9461 is at Catalpa and Broadway, operating on Route 84 – Peterson on September 1, 1980. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 8417 is on Route 17 - Westchester in June 1971. (John Le Beau Photo)

CTA 8417 is on Route 17 – Westchester in June 1971. (John Le Beau Photo)

PACE 6338 is heading south on Harlem Avenue on Route 305, having just gone under the CTA Green Line "L" in December 2012. (Mel Bernero Photo)

PACE 6338 is heading south on Harlem Avenue on Route 305, having just gone under the CTA Green Line “L” in December 2012. (Mel Bernero Photo)

PACE 6225 heads west on Route 309 - Lake Street at Harlem Avenue. To the left, just out of view, is the former Marshall Field's store in Oak Park, a local landmark. It later housed a Border's bookstore, now also gone. This photo must have been taken a few years ago, as you would see some new tall buildings if you took the same picture today. Unable to move outward, Oak Park is moving "up." (John Le Beau Photo)

PACE 6225 heads west on Route 309 – Lake Street at Harlem Avenue. To the left, just out of view, is the former Marshall Field’s store in Oak Park, a local landmark. It later housed a Border’s bookstore, now also gone. This photo must have been taken a few years ago, as you would see some new tall buildings if you took the same picture today. Unable to move outward, Oak Park is moving “up.” (John Le Beau Photo)

CTA 2527 is at 25th and Laramie in Cicero, the west end of Route 58 - Ogden. The date appears to be the late 1950s.

CTA 2527 is at 25th and Laramie in Cicero, the west end of Route 58 – Ogden. The date appears to be the late 1950s.

Chicago & West Towns buses 839 and 804 are laying over in the middle of the street at Cermak and 47th Street in January 1979. This is near the border between Cicero and Chicago, and also adjacent to the old Western Electric plant.

Chicago & West Towns buses 839 and 804 are laying over in the middle of the street at Cermak and 47th Street in January 1979. This is near the border between Cicero and Chicago, and also adjacent to the old Western Electric plant.

RTA bus 8107 at the West Towns bus garage in oak Park on April 12, 1981. (John Le Beau Photo)

RTA bus 8107 at the West Towns bus garage in oak Park on April 12, 1981. (John Le Beau Photo)

RTA 8049 at the West Towns garage in Oak Park on May 28, 1978. This is now the site of a Pete's Fresh Market. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

RTA 8049 at the West Towns garage in Oak Park on May 28, 1978. This is now the site of a Pete’s Fresh Market. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

PACE bus 2092 is exiting from the CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal in April 1992. Where the bus is, was once the approximate location of Chicago Great Western freight tracks, which spanned DesPlaines Avenue via a bridge and then connected with the Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal tracks. That portion of the old CGW right-of-way between here and First Avenue has been paved, and provides a connection to the Prairie Path, which starts at First Avenue.

PACE bus 2092 is exiting from the CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal in April 1992. Where the bus is, was once the approximate location of Chicago Great Western freight tracks, which spanned DesPlaines Avenue via a bridge and then connected with the Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal tracks. That portion of the old CGW right-of-way between here and First Avenue has been paved, and provides a connection to the Prairie Path, which starts at First Avenue.

CTA 1806 is on Route 84 - Peterson at Western Avenue on April 21, 1957. (Michael N. Charnota Photo)

CTA 1806 is on Route 84 – Peterson at Western Avenue on April 21, 1957. (Michael N. Charnota Photo)

This slide was labeled "Oak Park," but actually, it's on the border between Elmwood Park and River Grove. PACE bus 22550 is heading west on Grand Avenue, going over the long crossing of the Metra Milwaukee District West Line on route 319 on May 8, 1993. There has een much talk over the years of grade-separating these tracks, where some accidents have occurred, but so far nothing has come of it. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

This slide was labeled “Oak Park,” but actually, it’s on the border between Elmwood Park and River Grove. PACE bus 22550 is heading west on Grand Avenue, going over the long crossing of the Metra Milwaukee District West Line on route 319 on May 8, 1993. There has een much talk over the years of grade-separating these tracks, where some accidents have occurred, but so far nothing has come of it. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

RTA bus 496 is at the Brookfield Zoo on December 11, 1977. Andre Kristopans adds, "Bus 496 is on an OSA (Omnibus Society of America) charter. Note the “9” covered with tape." (John Le Beau Photo)

RTA bus 496 is at the Brookfield Zoo on December 11, 1977. Andre Kristopans adds, “Bus 496 is on an OSA (Omnibus Society of America) charter. Note the “9” covered with tape.” (John Le Beau Photo)

RTA bus 8044 is at the old West Towns garage in Oak Park in March 1983.

RTA bus 8044 is at the old West Towns garage in Oak Park in March 1983.

CTA bus 4580 heads west on Harrison at Springfield on March 7, 1991.

CTA bus 4580 heads west on Harrison at Springfield on March 7, 1991.

CTA bus 1112 is at 115th and Perry in February 1983.

CTA bus 1112 is at 115th and Perry in February 1983.

South Suburban Safeway Lines bus 702 is northbound at 119th and Western, probably around 1970. Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, "South Suburban Safeway Lines went north on Western to 63rd, then east to Halsted, the heart of Englewood. Actually, east to Union, south to 63rd Place, and west to the L station at Halsted and 63rd Place, where it ended its northbound run. Southbound, it first took Halsted north to 63rd, then west to Western, etc. The other thing to notice in this picture is that Western Ave. was not as wide south of 119th. This is because the Chicago city limit is 119th, and south of that is Blue Island."

South Suburban Safeway Lines bus 702 is northbound at 119th and Western, probably around 1970. Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, “South Suburban Safeway Lines went north on Western to 63rd, then east to Halsted, the heart of Englewood. Actually, east to Union, south to 63rd Place, and west to the L station at Halsted and 63rd Place, where it ended its northbound run. Southbound, it first took Halsted north to 63rd, then west to Western, etc. The other thing to notice in this picture is that Western Ave. was not as wide south of 119th. This is because the Chicago city limit is 119th, and south of that is Blue Island.”

South Suburban Safeway Lines 714 on Western at 79th on October 4, 1975. (Michael N. Charnota Photo)

South Suburban Safeway Lines 714 on Western at 79th on October 4, 1975. (Michael N. Charnota Photo)

CTA 871, running on Route 49B North Western, is at the Western Avenue stop on the Ravenswood "L" in June 1973. (Michael N. Charnota Photo)

CTA 871, running on Route 49B North Western, is at the Western Avenue stop on the Ravenswood “L” in June 1973. (Michael N. Charnota Photo)

CTA 5567 is on Western near 63rd Street on April 20, 1972 (Route 49). Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, "Notice Cupid Candies on one corner and Fannie May Candies across the street." Jeff Weiner adds, "CTA 5567 appears to be at Western and 62nd, as the City maintained a traffic signal there for the Sears store. Until a closed-loop system was installed, the 62nd signal operated fixed-time during store hours, and went on yellow-red flash when the store was closed. After it was modernized, the operation was semiactuated, with coordination to the other signals on Western. Until it was modernized, the median signals were on concrete “blockbuster” foundations, replaced with mast arm signals afterwards."

CTA 5567 is on Western near 63rd Street on April 20, 1972 (Route 49). Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, “Notice Cupid Candies on one corner and Fannie May Candies across the street.” Jeff Weiner adds, “CTA 5567 appears to be at Western and 62nd, as the City maintained a traffic signal there for the Sears store. Until a closed-loop system was installed, the 62nd signal operated fixed-time during store hours, and went on yellow-red flash when the store was closed. After it was modernized, the operation was semiactuated, with coordination to the other signals on Western. Until it was modernized, the median signals were on concrete “blockbuster” foundations, replaced with mast arm signals afterwards.”

CTA 5978 is at the Western and 79th loop on June 20, 1973. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 5978 is at the Western and 79th loop on June 20, 1973. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA Pullman 312 on Kedzie. Bill Shapotkin adds, "Car is working #52 -- Kedzie-California and is laying over in California at Roscoe. View looks north."

CTA Pullman 312 on Kedzie. Bill Shapotkin adds, “Car is working #52 — Kedzie-California and is laying over in California at Roscoe. View looks north.”

CTA Pullman 444 at Armitage and California in January 1950.

CTA Pullman 444 at Armitage and California in January 1950.

CTA one-man car 6184 at Lawrence and Luna in 1949.

CTA one-man car 6184 at Lawrence and Luna in 1949.

CTA 336, in June 1952, is on California Avenue at Augusta Boulevard.

CTA 336, in June 1952, is on California Avenue at Augusta Boulevard.

Chicago Surface Lines 474 is on Belmont at Clark in May 1947.

Chicago Surface Lines 474 is on Belmont at Clark in May 1947.

CSL 1644 is on Route 6 at Division and California in May 1942. The Divison and Van Buren car lines were through-routed starting in 1937.

CSL 1644 is on Route 6 at Division and California in May 1942. The Divison and Van Buren car lines were through-routed starting in 1937.

CTA 5574 at an unknown location. Jon Habermaas writes, "Photo appears to be on the Halsted route where the line is on private right of way along Vincennes Ave., paralleling the Rock Island mainline... in the background you can see the Washington Heights Rock Island depot and a cross buck along the Pennsy's Panhandle division, which crosses Vincennes Avenue and the Rock Island just south of 103rd Street. The car would be around 104th and Vincennes Ave." Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, "Mr. Habermaas's description is accurate. I will add that this private right of way started at 89th St., just south of the CRI&P Beverly branch viaduct, and ended around 107th St. where Vincennes veered farther west from the CRI&P main line. And more historically, this right-of-way originated for the Kankakee car, which had its barn at 88th and Vincennes and ran on Halsted as far north as Englewood." Andre Kristopans: "Car 5574 SB at 105th or so. You can just make out the 104th RI station in the back, and PRR crossbuck to the right in the distance." (Robert W. Gibson Photo)

CTA 5574 at an unknown location. Jon Habermaas writes, “Photo appears to be on the Halsted route where the line is on private right of way along Vincennes Ave., paralleling the Rock Island mainline… in the background you can see the Washington Heights Rock Island depot and a cross buck along the Pennsy’s Panhandle division, which crosses Vincennes Avenue and the Rock Island just south of 103rd Street. The car would be around 104th and Vincennes Ave.” Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, “Mr. Habermaas’s description is accurate. I will add that this private right of way started at 89th St., just south of the CRI&P Beverly branch viaduct, and ended around 107th St. where Vincennes veered farther west from the CRI&P main line. And more historically, this right-of-way originated for the Kankakee car, which had its barn at 88th and Vincennes and ran on Halsted as far north as Englewood.” Andre Kristopans: “Car 5574 SB at 105th or so. You can just make out the 104th RI station in the back, and PRR crossbuck to the right in the distance.” (Robert W. Gibson Photo)

CTA 1749, one of the few old streetcars repainted in green, is at Cermak and State in January 1954, running on Route 21. Note the steam engine in the background.

CTA 1749, one of the few old streetcars repainted in green, is at Cermak and State in January 1954, running on Route 21. Note the steam engine in the background.

CTA prewar PCC 4038 is eastbound on 63rd Street. PCCs ran on this line between 1948 and 1952. If the address on the building is any guide, this is probably 122 East 63rd Street.

CTA prewar PCC 4038 is eastbound on 63rd Street. PCCs ran on this line between 1948 and 1952. If the address on the building is any guide, this is probably 122 East 63rd Street.

Illinois Central Electric bi-level car 1514 at the Blue Island Yards on April 23, 1978.

Illinois Central Electric bi-level car 1514 at the Blue Island Yards on April 23, 1978.

CTA trolley bus 9553 is on its last run, a fan trip held on April 1, 1973. Here it is on Fullerton Avenue near the Milwaukee Road freight line. This was one week after trolley buses were taken out of service.

CTA trolley bus 9553 is on its last run, a fan trip held on April 1, 1973. Here it is on Fullerton Avenue near the Milwaukee Road freight line. This was one week after trolley buses were taken out of service.

CTA Marmon-Herrington trolley bus 535 at North and Cicero.

CTA Marmon-Herrington trolley bus 535 at North and Cicero.

Recent Site Addition

This photo was added to our previous post More Mystery Photos (July 29, 2016):

BEDT 0-6-0 #16 in Brooklyn, NY on October 9, 1982.

BEDT 0-6-0 #16 in Brooklyn, NY on October 9, 1982.

Chicago Subway Lecture

Samuel D. Polonetzky makes a point during his presentation at the Chicago Maritime Museum on July 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Samuel D. Polonetzky makes a point during his presentation at the Chicago Maritime Museum on July 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

On July 25 2018, Samuel D. Polonetzky, P.E., B.Sc. gave a presentation before the Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago, of which he is a member. The topic was “Crossing of the Chicago River by the State Street Subway.” He showed actual motion pictures of the construction of the Subway in 1938-40.

Mr. Polonetzky is a Civil Engineer who served the City of Chicago, Department of Streets & Sanitation for thirty five years, rising from Engineer-In-Training to Acting Chief Engineer. During this tenure he acquired a deep knowledge of Chicago’s public rights-of-way and the underground infrastructure. He is also an active member of the Illinois Railway Museum at Union IL and a Life Member of the American Public Works Association.

The Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago meets in the Chicago Maritime Museum located in the Bridgeport Arts Center, 3400 S. Racine Av. Chicago Ill. 60609.

The film shown is called Streamlining Chicago (1940), and you can watch it here:

Pre-Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

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

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

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

Bibliographic information:

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

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

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

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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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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Recent Finds, 8-16-2017

Chicago Aurora & Elgin wood car 301 sports a new paint job at Wheaton Yard in August 1959, two years after the end of passenger service. It sits forlornly while waiting for a buyer that never came. Fortunately, some other cars were saved.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin wood car 301 sports a new paint job at Wheaton Yard in August 1959, two years after the end of passenger service. It sits forlornly while waiting for a buyer that never came. Fortunately, some other cars were saved.

We have been hard at work since our last post. Here are lots of great, classic pictures for your consideration.

In addition, we have new CD titles, which include about six hours of classic train audio. This means we have now digitized the complete Railroad Record Club collection and have made these long out-of-print recordings available to a new generation of fans. For each hour of CD audio, there is at least 10 hours of work involved. I hope that you will enjoy the results.

Our new book Chicago Trolleys is now 100% finished and has gone to press. There is also a set of 15 postcards available for a very reasonable price, using selected images from the book. The details are at the end of this post.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

CTA one-man streetcar 3144 heads east on Route 16 - Lake Street somewhere between Laramie and Pine Street, while a two-car train of 400-series "L" cars runs at ground level parallel to the streetcar. The time must be near the end of red car service here, which was May 30, 1954, as that is a 1953 or 1954 Cadillac at left. The C&NW signal tower on the embankment is still there today, at about Pine Street, which is where streetcars crossed the "L" to run north of the embankment for a few blocks before terminating at Austin Boulevard, the city limits.

CTA one-man streetcar 3144 heads east on Route 16 – Lake Street somewhere between Laramie and Pine Street, while a two-car train of 400-series “L” cars runs at ground level parallel to the streetcar. The time must be near the end of red car service here, which was May 30, 1954, as that is a 1953 or 1954 Cadillac at left. The C&NW signal tower on the embankment is still there today, at about Pine Street, which is where streetcars crossed the “L” to run north of the embankment for a few blocks before terminating at Austin Boulevard, the city limits.

CTA 1777 is on Lake Street heading east near Laramie, next to the ramp that once took the Lake Street "L" up to steel structure. A few of the older red trolleys were repainted in this color scheme by CTA, but I don't know anyone who found this very attractive when compared to what it replaced. The total distance where streetcars and "L" cars ran side-by-side was only a few blocks.

CTA 1777 is on Lake Street heading east near Laramie, next to the ramp that once took the Lake Street “L” up to steel structure. A few of the older red trolleys were repainted in this color scheme by CTA, but I don’t know anyone who found this very attractive when compared to what it replaced. The total distance where streetcars and “L” cars ran side-by-side was only a few blocks.

The same location today, at about 5450 West Lake Street.

The same location today, at about 5450 West Lake Street.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s at the west end of the Lake Street "L" in Forest Park. This picture was probably taken circa 1961-62, since you can see that at right, work is already underway on expanding the embankment to create space for a rail yard. On October 28, 1962, the out end of Lake was relocated to the C&NW embankment at left.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s at the west end of the Lake Street “L” in Forest Park. This picture was probably taken circa 1961-62, since you can see that at right, work is already underway on expanding the embankment to create space for a rail yard. On October 28, 1962, the out end of Lake was relocated to the C&NW embankment at left.

Here, we see the Garfield Park "L" temporary tracks on Van Buren at Loomis, looking east on July 1, 1956. Construction on the adjacent Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower) is pretty far along. This operation would continue until the opening of the Congress median line on June 22, 1958.

Here, we see the Garfield Park “L” temporary tracks on Van Buren at Loomis, looking east on July 1, 1956. Construction on the adjacent Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower) is pretty far along. This operation would continue until the opening of the Congress median line on June 22, 1958.

At left, we can see Chicago Pullman 225 under a makeshift shelter at the Seashore Trolley Museum. 225 went there in 1957, but offhand, I'm not sure when the UK double-decker tram made the trip across the Atlantic.

At left, we can see Chicago Pullman 225 under a makeshift shelter at the Seashore Trolley Museum. 225 went there in 1957, but offhand, I’m not sure when the UK double-decker tram made the trip across the Atlantic.

A night shot from the National Tramway Museum in Crich (UK), which is home to more than 60 trams built between 1900 and 1950.

A night shot from the National Tramway Museum in Crich (UK), which is home to more than 60 trams built between 1900 and 1950.

CTA's line car S-606 at the Dempster terminal of the Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line). According to 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." (Photo by Bob Harris) Bob Harris adds, "By the way, the body of 606 is back in Illinois. When CLS&SB #73 comes out of the restoration shop, 606 goes in. We have the Cincinnati Car Company drawings. But since 606 was virtually destroyed in the November 26, 1977 fire, this will be more of a re-creation rather than a restoration."

CTA’s line car S-606 at the Dempster terminal of the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line). According to 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.” (Photo by Bob Harris) Bob Harris adds, “By the way, the body of 606 is back in Illinois. When CLS&SB #73 comes out of the restoration shop, 606 goes in. We have the Cincinnati Car Company drawings. But since 606 was virtually destroyed in the November 26, 1977 fire, this will be more of a re-creation rather than a restoration.”

Here, we are looking south on State Street from Monroe in 1942. Construction of the State Street Subway is being finished up, with the construction of stairway entrances. New streetcar tracks have been set in concrete, while it looks like some street paving work is still going on. The famous Palmer House is at left. There are a few references to WWII visible, meaning this picture was taken after Pearl Harbor. The subway was put into regular service on October 17, 1943.

Here, we are looking south on State Street from Monroe in 1942. Construction of the State Street Subway is being finished up, with the construction of stairway entrances. New streetcar tracks have been set in concrete, while it looks like some street paving work is still going on. The famous Palmer House is at left. There are a few references to WWII visible, meaning this picture was taken after Pearl Harbor. The subway was put into regular service on October 17, 1943.

A close-up of the previous picture.

A close-up of the previous picture.

This aerial view shows the old Main Chicago Post Office and the near west side in 1946, before work started on building the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower), which now runs right through the center of the building. That will give you an idea of just what a massive project this was. The old Metropolitan "L", parts of which were displaced by the highway, has already curved off to the left, where it can be seen crossing the Union Station train sheds. Two side-by-side bridges carried the four tracks over the Chicago River. Then, tracks split, one part going to the Wells Street Terminal, the other continuing to a connection with the Loop structure at Wells and Van Buren. Now, the CTA Blue Line subway goes underneath the post office and river.

This aerial view shows the old Main Chicago Post Office and the near west side in 1946, before work started on building the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower), which now runs right through the center of the building. That will give you an idea of just what a massive project this was. The old Metropolitan “L”, parts of which were displaced by the highway, has already curved off to the left, where it can be seen crossing the Union Station train sheds. Two side-by-side bridges carried the four tracks over the Chicago River. Then, tracks split, one part going to the Wells Street Terminal, the other continuing to a connection with the Loop structure at Wells and Van Buren. Now, the CTA Blue Line subway goes underneath the post office and river.

A close-up of the previous picture shows the Met "L" in greater detail. An eastbound two-car "L" train and a red CSL streetcar are visible.

A close-up of the previous picture shows the Met “L” in greater detail. An eastbound two-car “L” train and a red CSL streetcar are visible.

In this picture, it looks like the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower) has just opened, which would date the picture to November 1960. We are looking east near Oak Park Avenue. Many things are unfinished, and traffic is limited to two lanes in each direction (and already very crowded). According to Graham Garfield's excellent web site, the new Oak Park station opened on March 19, 1960, and the station house was finished on March 27, 1961.

In this picture, it looks like the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower) has just opened, which would date the picture to November 1960. We are looking east near Oak Park Avenue. Many things are unfinished, and traffic is limited to two lanes in each direction (and already very crowded). According to Graham Garfield’s excellent web site, the new Oak Park station opened on March 19, 1960, and the station house was finished on March 27, 1961.

Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee car 772 in 1959 at the barn lead to the Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee..

Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee car 772 in 1959 at the barn lead to the Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee..

North Shore Line car 158 is a northbound Waukegan Express on the Shore Line Route at North Chicago, July 4, 1949. This was the also date of an Electric Railroaders Association (ERA) fantrip. 158 was built by Brill in 1915.

North Shore Line car 158 is a northbound Waukegan Express on the Shore Line Route at North Chicago, July 4, 1949. This was the also date of an Electric Railroaders Association (ERA) fantrip. 158 was built by Brill in 1915.

North Shore Line city streetcar 356 in the 1940s. The consensus is this shows Waukegan, as there was no curve in Milwaukee that matches the buildings in this picture. Jerry Wiatrowski adds, "This is in Waukegan! The photographer is standing on the South side of Belvidere Street looking East/Northeast. The Westbound streetcar is turning off of Marion Street (now South Genesee Street) and will shortly turn right onto South Genesee Street as it travels North thru the center of downtown Waukegan. If I recall correctly, the “s-curve” this streetcar is on was known as “Merchants curve”. The sailors that can be seen in the windows of the car are going to downtown Waukegan from the Great Lakes Naval Base, the South end of the streetcar line."

North Shore Line city streetcar 356 in the 1940s. The consensus is this shows Waukegan, as there was no curve in Milwaukee that matches the buildings in this picture. Jerry Wiatrowski adds, “This is in Waukegan! The photographer is standing on the South side of Belvidere Street looking East/Northeast. The Westbound streetcar is turning off of Marion Street (now South Genesee Street) and will shortly turn right onto South Genesee Street as it travels North thru the center of downtown Waukegan. If I recall correctly, the “s-curve” this streetcar is on was known as “Merchants curve”. The sailors that can be seen in the windows of the car are going to downtown Waukegan from the Great Lakes Naval Base, the South end of the streetcar line.”

Randolph Street looking east in the late 1940s. The RKO Palace Theatre, located at 151 West Randolph, is now the Cadillac Palace.

Randolph Street looking east in the late 1940s. The RKO Palace Theatre, located at 151 West Randolph, is now the Cadillac Palace.

CTA Pullman 106 at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

CTA Pullman 106 at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

A view of the north side of CTA's South Shops on September 10, 1952. In a previous post, we ran a picture of car 4001 taken on this trackage. That picture was taken in the 1930s, and by 1952 it appears one track had been taken out of service.

A view of the north side of CTA’s South Shops on September 10, 1952. In a previous post, we ran a picture of car 4001 taken on this trackage. That picture was taken in the 1930s, and by 1952 it appears one track had been taken out of service.

PS- Here is that photo of 4001, which we previously ran in our post More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Four (10-12-2015):

CSL 4001 may be on non-revenue trackage at the north end of South Shops. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 4001 may be on non-revenue trackage at the north end of South Shops. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

This picture was taken on September 9, 1952, looking north from the Main Street station on CTA's Evanston branch.

This picture was taken on September 9, 1952, looking north from the Main Street station on CTA’s Evanston branch.

On September 9, 1952, a southbound North Shore Line train, running via the Shore Line Route, stops at Foster Street in Evanston. Here, NSL had its own platform to keep passengers from transferring to the "L" without paying another fare. The stairs descended to a free area. It was not necessary to have a similar platform for northbound riders, as North Shore Line conductors would check tickets on the train.

On September 9, 1952, a southbound North Shore Line train, running via the Shore Line Route, stops at Foster Street in Evanston. Here, NSL had its own platform to keep passengers from transferring to the “L” without paying another fare. The stairs descended to a free area. It was not necessary to have a similar platform for northbound riders, as North Shore Line conductors would check tickets on the train.

A view from the 15th floor of the YMCA Hotel on Wabash Avenue on September 9, 1952.

A view from the 15th floor of the YMCA Hotel on Wabash Avenue on September 9, 1952.

Another view from the same location.

Another view from the same location.

From the door configuration, you can tell that this prewar Chicago PCC has been converted to one-man operation. It is running on Route 4 - Cottage Grove in this blow-up of the previous image.

From the door configuration, you can tell that this prewar Chicago PCC has been converted to one-man operation. It is running on Route 4 – Cottage Grove in this blow-up of the previous image.

CTA work car L-203 and various PCCs parked behind South Shops on September 10, 1952.

CTA work car L-203 and various PCCs parked behind South Shops on September 10, 1952.

A CSL trailer being used as an office at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

A CSL trailer being used as an office at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

Here, one-man car 3266 is on the south side (Route 67). The car is at Harvard, heading westbound, and I believe the destination sign reads 79th and California. On the other hand, our resident south side expert M. E. writes: "In pict662.jpg , your caption says "I believe the destination sign reads 79th and California." No, it is 71st and California. Route 67 was known as 67th-69th-71st; abbreviated, just 69th, because that was the longest stretch. In fact, you might want to revise the caption to note that the photo is at 69th and Harvard."

Here, one-man car 3266 is on the south side (Route 67). The car is at Harvard, heading westbound, and I believe the destination sign reads 79th and California. On the other hand, our resident south side expert M. E. writes: “In pict662.jpg , your caption says “I believe the destination sign reads 79th and California.” No, it is 71st and California. Route 67 was known as 67th-69th-71st; abbreviated, just 69th, because that was the longest stretch. In fact, you might want to revise the caption to note that the photo is at 69th and Harvard.”

69th and Harvard today, looking east.

69th and Harvard today, looking east.

CTA 6193, a "169" or Broadway-State car, was built by Cummings in 1923. It was converted to one-man operation in 1949 and has suffered some damage in this September 10, 1952 view at South Shops.

CTA 6193, a “169” or Broadway-State car, was built by Cummings in 1923. It was converted to one-man operation in 1949 and has suffered some damage in this September 10, 1952 view at South Shops.

CTA 4314 and 4304 on the west side of South Shops, September 10, 1952. On the other hand, M. E. writes: "In pict664.jpg, you say "on the west side of South Shops." No, this has to be the east side of South Shops. That's because South Shops was on the east side of Vincennes, so its west side faced Vincennes. There is no Vincennes in this photo." We were just going by the information written in the negative envelope that came with this image, which turns out to be incorrect. Gosh darn those out-of-town photographers!!

CTA 4314 and 4304 on the west side of South Shops, September 10, 1952. On the other hand, M. E. writes: “In pict664.jpg, you say “on the west side of South Shops.” No, this has to be the east side of South Shops. That’s because South Shops was on the east side of Vincennes, so its west side faced Vincennes. There is no Vincennes in this photo.” We were just going by the information written in the negative envelope that came with this image, which turns out to be incorrect. Gosh darn those out-of-town photographers!!

CTA 4314 and 4304 on the east side of South Shops, September 10, 1952.

CTA 4314 and 4304 on the east side of South Shops, September 10, 1952.

CTA prewar PCC 4047 and postwar car 7038 at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

CTA prewar PCC 4047 and postwar car 7038 at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

Two CTA freight locos at South Shops, September 10, 1952.

Two CTA freight locos at South Shops, September 10, 1952.

A CTA freight loco, possibly L-201, at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

A CTA freight loco, possibly L-201, at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

A CTA wood car at 42nd Place, end of the Kenwood branch, during the 1950s. (Walter Broschart Photo)

A CTA wood car at 42nd Place, end of the Kenwood branch, during the 1950s. (Walter Broschart Photo)

A two car train of singles just north of Main Street in Evanston. #27 is the lead car.

A two car train of singles just north of Main Street in Evanston. #27 is the lead car.

A CTA single-car unit under wire on the Evanston branch, just north of Main Street. This might be car 47.

A CTA single-car unit under wire on the Evanston branch, just north of Main Street. This might be car 47.

A CTA single-car unit heads south from Isabella on the Evanston branch, sometime between 1961 and 1973.

A CTA single-car unit heads south from Isabella on the Evanston branch, sometime between 1961 and 1973.

A train of 4000s, signed for Jackson Park via the Subway, in 1947. If I am reading the sign correctly, this is 31st Street, a station the CTA closed in 1949. There was also apparently a Chicago White Sox home game when this picture was taken. M. E. writes: "pict673.jpg features a Jackson Park train at 31st St. Notice three tracks. The middle track was used, although I am unsure under what circumstances. One possibility that comes to mind is that the Kenwood line (until it became a shuttle out of Indiana Ave.) ran on this trackage into the Loop and up to Wilson. The Kenwood was a local. The Englewood and Jackson Park trains sometimes bypassed the Kenwood locals using the middle track. There were switches up and down the line to enable moving to and from the middle track. Another possibility is that at one point the North Shore ran trains south as far as 63rd and Dorchester (1400 East) on the Jackson Park line. Perhaps some CNS&M trains used the middle track. One impossibility is that the Englewood and Jackson Park trains used the middle track the whole way from south of Indiana Ave. to the Loop. I say this was not possible because all the stations on this line were on the outer sides of the outside tracks. I don't recall any Englewood or Jackson Park trains running express on the middle track along this stretch. By the way, prior to the 1949 changes, only the Jackson Park line ran north to Howard. The Englewood ran to Ravenswood (to Lawrence and Kimball)."

A train of 4000s, signed for Jackson Park via the Subway, in 1947. If I am reading the sign correctly, this is 31st Street, a station the CTA closed in 1949. There was also apparently a Chicago White Sox home game when this picture was taken. M. E. writes: “pict673.jpg features a Jackson Park train at 31st St. Notice three tracks. The middle track was used, although I am unsure under what circumstances. One possibility that comes to mind is that the Kenwood line (until it became a shuttle out of Indiana Ave.) ran on this trackage into the Loop and up to Wilson. The Kenwood was a local. The Englewood and Jackson Park trains sometimes bypassed the Kenwood locals using the middle track. There were switches up and down the line to enable moving to and from the middle track.
Another possibility is that at one point the North Shore ran trains south as far as 63rd and Dorchester (1400 East) on the Jackson Park line. Perhaps some CNS&M trains used the middle track.
One impossibility is that the Englewood and Jackson Park trains used the middle track the whole way from south of Indiana Ave. to the Loop. I say this was not possible because all the stations on this line were on the outer sides of the outside tracks. I don’t recall any Englewood or Jackson Park trains running express on the middle track along this stretch.
By the way, prior to the 1949 changes, only the Jackson Park line ran north to Howard. The Englewood ran to Ravenswood (to Lawrence and Kimball).”

A close-up of the previous picture.

A close-up of the previous picture.

North Shore Line city streetcar 509 in August 1941. Don's Rail Photos says, "509 was built by St Louis Car in 1909. It was rebuilt to one man and transferred to Waukegan on November 3, 1922. It was used as a waiting room at 10th Street, North Chicago, for a short time in 1947, until a new station could be built at the truncated north end of the Shore Line Route. It was sold for scrap in 1949."

North Shore Line city streetcar 509 in August 1941. Don’s Rail Photos says, “509 was built by St Louis Car in 1909. It was rebuilt to one man and transferred to Waukegan on November 3, 1922. It was used as a waiting room at 10th Street, North Chicago, for a short time in 1947, until a new station could be built at the truncated north end of the Shore Line Route. It was sold for scrap in 1949.”

North Shore Line wood car 304, built by American Car in 1910, as it looked in June 1938. It became a sleet cutter in 1939 and was scrapped the following year.

North Shore Line wood car 304, built by American Car in 1910, as it looked in June 1938. It became a sleet cutter in 1939 and was scrapped the following year.

Gary Railways 19 at Indiana Harbor on May 1, 1938 during the very first fantrip of Central Electric Railfans' Association. This car was built by Cummings in 1927. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)

Gary Railways 19 at Indiana Harbor on May 1, 1938 during the very first fantrip of Central Electric Railfans’ Association. This car was built by Cummings in 1927. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)

Gary Railways 22 on May 10, 1940.

Gary Railways 22 on May 10, 1940.

Gary Railways 21 in 1938, signed for 22nd Avenue. It was built by Cummings in 1927.

Gary Railways 21 in 1938, signed for 22nd Avenue. It was built by Cummings in 1927.

Northern Indiana Railways 216 in South Bend, Indiana on June 25, 1939. The occasion was Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip #9, which brought people here via the South Shore Line. This deck roof car was built by Kuhlman in 1923.

Northern Indiana Railways 216 in South Bend, Indiana on June 25, 1939. The occasion was Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip #9, which brought people here via the South Shore Line. This deck roof car was built by Kuhlman in 1923.

Gary Railways 5, a 1925 Kuhlman product, is shown at Indiana Harbor on May 1, 1938, date of the very first Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)

Gary Railways 5, a 1925 Kuhlman product, is shown at Indiana Harbor on May 1, 1938, date of the very first Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)

Here, we see New Castle Electric Street Railway 352 in Grant Street at the Erie/B&O/P&LE station in New Castle, PA on August 24, 1941. This was a Birney car, a 1919 National product that, to these eyes, reminds me of the Osgood-Bradley Electromobiles of ten years later. All streetcar service in this area was discontinued on December 11, 1941. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Here, we see New Castle Electric Street Railway 352 in Grant Street at the Erie/B&O/P&LE station in New Castle, PA on August 24, 1941. This was a Birney car, a 1919 National product that, to these eyes, reminds me of the Osgood-Bradley Electromobiles of ten years later. All streetcar service in this area was discontinued on December 11, 1941. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

The Queensboro Bridge trolley, which last ran on April 7, 1957, making it New York City's final (to date) streetcar. Our new audio collection has a "mystery track" on it that may or may not be the Queensboro Bridge trolley. You be the judge. It takes a serious railfan to distinguish an Osgood Bradley Electromobile, as we see here, from the very similar Brill Master Unit. Parts from sister car 601 are now being used to help the Electric City Trolley Museum Association restore Scranton Transit car 505.

The Queensboro Bridge trolley, which last ran on April 7, 1957, making it New York City’s final (to date) streetcar. Our new audio collection has a “mystery track” on it that may or may not be the Queensboro Bridge trolley. You be the judge.
It takes a serious railfan to distinguish an Osgood Bradley Electromobile, as we see here, from the very similar Brill Master Unit. Parts from sister car 601 are now being used to help the Electric City Trolley Museum Association restore Scranton Transit car 505.

Indianapolis Railways 175 was a Brill "Master Unit" built in 1934. These were among the last cars built by Brill prior to the pre-PCCs. Brill's idea behind the "Master Unit" was to create a standardized car, but as it turned out, no two orders placed were exactly alike.

Indianapolis Railways 175 was a Brill “Master Unit” built in 1934. These were among the last cars built by Brill prior to the pre-PCCs. Brill’s idea behind the “Master Unit” was to create a standardized car, but as it turned out, no two orders placed were exactly alike.

North Shore Line city streetcar 352 at Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee, June 1941.

North Shore Line city streetcar 352 at Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee, June 1941.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co. (aka Red Arrow) 13, a 1949 product of St. Louis Car Co., in side-of-the-road operation on West Chester Pike, June 2, 1954. Buses replaced trolleys a few days later to allow for the widening of this important thoroughfare.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co. (aka Red Arrow) 13, a 1949 product of St. Louis Car Co., in side-of-the-road operation on West Chester Pike, June 2, 1954. Buses replaced trolleys a few days later to allow for the widening of this important thoroughfare.

Here, Red Arrow 61 approaches the 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, sometime in the 1930s. Car 61 was a Brill product from about 1927. Note the man wearing a straw hat, which is something people used to do on hot days.

Here, Red Arrow 61 approaches the 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, sometime in the 1930s. Car 61 was a Brill product from about 1927. Note the man wearing a straw hat, which is something people used to do on hot days.

North Shore Line car 760 in Milwaukee. Don's Rail Photos says: "760 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930. It was modernized in 1945 and rebuilt as (a) Silverliner on September 23, 1952." Since photographer LaMar M. Kelley died on January 5, 1948 (see below), this picture cannot be later than that date.

North Shore Line car 760 in Milwaukee. Don’s Rail Photos says: “760 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930. It was modernized in 1945 and rebuilt as (a) Silverliner on September 23, 1952.” Since photographer LaMar M. Kelley died on January 5, 1948 (see below), this picture cannot be later than that date.

We don't often know much about the people who took some of these historic photographs. But here is an obituary of LaMar M. Kelley appeared in the February 1948 issue of Central Headlight, an employee publication of the New York Central railroad. I also found this online (even though it gets the date wrong): "Lamar M. Kelly (d. 1947) of Elkhart IN worked as a helper at the sand house and coal pockets at Elkhart . He was crippled by polio and devoted most his time to rail photography. He traded negatives with Jerry Best who considered Kelley's work to be of varied quality. Kelley died suddenly in a workplace accident in 1947. His negative collection was sold piecemeal." I object to the author's use of the word "crippled," which implies limitations in someone's life that are more than just physical disabilities. Personally, I think LaMar M. Kelley's photography was quite good, and that he led a life of great accomplishment in his 50 short years.

We don’t often know much about the people who took some of these historic photographs. But here is an obituary of LaMar M. Kelley appeared in the February 1948 issue of Central Headlight, an employee publication of the New York Central railroad. I also found this online (even though it gets the date wrong): “Lamar M. Kelly (d. 1947) of Elkhart IN worked as a helper at the sand house and coal pockets at Elkhart . He was crippled by polio and devoted most his time to rail photography. He traded negatives with Jerry Best who considered Kelley’s work to be of varied quality. Kelley died suddenly in a workplace accident in 1947. His negative collection was sold piecemeal.” I object to the author’s use of the word “crippled,” which implies limitations in someone’s life that are more than just physical disabilities. Personally, I think LaMar M. Kelley’s photography was quite good, and that he led a life of great accomplishment in his 50 short years.

"View of two passenger interurban cars on side track for local southbound loading at Edison Court, Waukegan, Ill. Note sign on post, "Save Your North Shore Line." Photo taken circa 1960 by Richard H. Young. Ultimately, these efforts failed, but the demise of the North Shore Line (and the Chicago Aurora & Elgin) helped spur the Federal Government into action to begin subsidizing transit across the country.

“View of two passenger interurban cars on side track for local southbound loading at Edison Court, Waukegan, Ill. Note sign on post, “Save Your North Shore Line.” Photo taken circa 1960 by Richard H. Young. Ultimately, these efforts failed, but the demise of the North Shore Line (and the Chicago Aurora & Elgin) helped spur the Federal Government into action to begin subsidizing transit across the country.

As new streetcar tracks are being laid in Milwaukee, it is important to know what we once had that was lost. Here, the North Shore Line terminal in downtown Milwaukee is being reduced to rubble in 1964, a year after passenger service ended. If only we could have found some way to keep what we had, we wouldn't now need to build so much. An important lesson in life-- it is better to create than it is to destroy.

As new streetcar tracks are being laid in Milwaukee, it is important to know what we once had that was lost. Here, the North Shore Line terminal in downtown Milwaukee is being reduced to rubble in 1964, a year after passenger service ended. If only we could have found some way to keep what we had, we wouldn’t now need to build so much. An important lesson in life– it is better to create than it is to destroy.

Recent Correspondence

Jack Bejna writes:

Here’s the latest. The Chicago Aurora & Elgin Railway ordered 5 cars to be built by the G C Kuhlman Car Company in 1909, numbered 311-315. The wood siding extended down to cover the previously exposed side sill channel, enhancing the look of these classic beauties.

The final wooden car order was placed with the Jewett Car Company in 1914 for six cars numbered 316-321. Car 318 was unique, with the sides being steel up to the belt line, the only wood car built this way. In the 1920s cars 319-321 were upgraded with more powerful motors and thereafter they were used together and/or with trailers.

I don’t know how you manage to put out an interesting, informative post every month, so thanks again for your website and all of the interesting stories within.

And we, in turn, really enjoy seeing these wonderful pictures that you have managed to make look better than ever, using all your skills and hard work.

Larry Sakar writes:

Hi Dave,

I just returned from my 6500 mile Amtrak trip to San Francisco, LA & Portland. I took the Hiawatha from Milwaukee to Chicago and connected to #5 the California Zephyr. Spent 2 days in SFO then took train 710 the San Joaquin to Bakersfield where they bus you to LA. The bus takes I-5 for most of the 100 mile trip to LA. As we got close to LA we were coming into Glendale and looking to my right I saw the abandoned PE r.o.w. where it crossed Fletcher Dr. There’s a picture that has been reproduced numerous times of a 3 car train of PCC’s crossing the bridge over Fletcher Dr. I thought the abandoned North Shore Line r.o.w. here in Milwaukee was high up but the PE r.o.w. is twice as high. The LA Downtown Hotel where I stayed was a block away from what used to be the Subway Terminal Bldg. at 4th & Hill.

When I was leaving the next day I rode the Red Cap’s motorized vehicle to the platform from the Metropolitan lounge. the lounge which is exclusively for 1st Class (sleeping car) passengers is on the second floor of LAUPT (Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal). They travel down a ramp and in the process cross the light rail tracks. We had to stop at the crossing for the passage of a Gold Line train headed to Pasadena and Cucamonga. Bit by bit LA is rebuilding the PE at a cost of billions! So far lines to Long Beach, Pasadena and Santa Monica have been rebuilt. Light rail has become very big in LA.

Two days later on my way back to Portland Union Station my taxi was traveling eight alongside a Portland MAX light rail train. In SFO the F-Line streetcars to Fisherman’s Wharf were packed to the rafters. Articulated buses were operating in place of the JKLM & N light rail lines that run in the Market St. subway. The new cars that are replacing the present BREDA cars were being tested. Saw BART when the Zephyr stopped in Richmond, CA. I know they have new cars coming but they don’t appear to be there as yet. BART is experiencing a significant increase in crime on its lines. Same holds true for Portland. In fact the Portland city council voted to ban anyone convicted of a serious crime on any of its light rail lines, buses or the Portland streetcar for life.

Coming home from Portland on the Portland section of the Empire Builder we heard that the previous day’s train was hit at a crossing (don’t know where) by a water truck. The 24 year old driver smashed thru the crossing gates and slammed into the second Genesis engine destroying it, the baggage car and part of the Superliner crew car behind it. No one was injured, luckily. The cause of the accident was the truck driver texting on his cell phone and not paying attention to driving. He’ll have lots of time to text now as I’m sure he’ll be fired. He’ll lose his CDL (Commercial Drivers License) and I’m sure the trucking company’s insurance carrier will be suing him for the damages they have to pay to Amtrak.

The day I was heading up the California coast from LA to Portland our train was held for almost an hour at LA for late connecting San Diego to LA (Pacific Surfliner) train 763 which is a guaranteed connection to #14. The train hit and killed some guy who was walking on the tracks north of San Diego and south of San Juan Capistrano.

It was a great trip and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Thanks for sharing!

FYI, Larry Sakar comments:

Hi Dave,

Fantastic posts! Those poor CA&E cars died a slow death rotting away in Wheaton yards until everything was finally scrapped in 1961.

I enjoyed the aerial shots of Canal St. station on the Metropolitan “L” (CTA). It’s not a station that seems to have been photographed a lot but there is a giant wall-sized shot of it on display in the Clinton St. CTA blue line subway station which replaced it. In the days of the “Met” there was a passageway from the south end of Union Station to the “L”. It’s still there and I understand it leads to the present day parking garage south of the station.

In the caption for that shot of the 2 car train of 4000’s on the Lake St. “L”, I don’t think the Lake St. “L” goes to Forest Park. The Green Line as it’s known today ends in Oak Park unless it’s been extended.

Looking at that North Shore Line city car photo I’d guess that is somewhere in Waukegan – Merchant’s curve perhaps? The only place in Milwaukee that had that kind of a curve was where the NSL went between 5th & 6th Sts. None of the buildings in this photo seem to match the ones that were along that curve. The curve was reconstructed after the NSL quit and is now the way you get on to southbound I-94 at Greenfield Ave. The factory building seen in so many of the photos of NSL trains on that curve still stands. Some sort of auto repair facility has been built in front of it. I just rode over that curve last Saturday in the taxi that was taking me home from the Milwaukee Intermodal station downtown. Here’s a Bob Genack photo I have showing that curve. Larry Sakar

Thanks… actually, the Lake Street “L” ground-level operation did cross Harlem Avenue into Forest Park, and there was actually a station there a short distance west which was technically the end of the line.  But few people got on there, the great majority using Marion Street instead.  The Harlem station on the embankment has entrances at Marion and on the west side of Harlem, and thus serves both Oak Park and Forest Park.

An Early History of the Railroad Record Club

Kenneth Gear and I have some new theories about the early history of the Railroad Record Club. This is based on careful study of the new material featured in our recent post Railroad Record Club Treasure Hunt (July 30, 2017).

One of the homemade 78 rpm records Ken recently bought was marked as having William A. Steventon‘s first recordings. These were dated March 24, 1953.

In a 1958 newspaper interview, Steventon said his wife had given him a tape recorder for Christmas in 1953. He probably meant to say 1952, and it took him a few months to get used to operating it.

Steventon always said that the club started in 1953. However, this seemed odd since he did not issue his first 10″ 33 1/3 rpm records until some years later. The 36 numbered discs came out at the rate of four per year from 1958 through 1966.

There was an Introductory Record, which was probably issued in 1957, and a few “special” releases, the most notable of which (SP-4) documents an entire 1962 trip of the South South Shore Line in real time on three 12″ discs as a box set. That was Steventon’s masterpiece.

In 1967, RCA Custom Records closed up shop, and it was not until some years later that Steventon began reissuing some of his recordings on 12″, using a different pressing plant in Nashville. But what was the Railroad Record Club doing from 1953 through 56?

Apparently, during those years, Steventon was distributing 78 rpm records made using a portable disc cutter. These had been available for home use starting in about 1929, and were often used to record things off the radio.

A few enterprising individuals like the late Jerry Newman took such machines to jazz clubs. This is how he made several recordings of Charlie Christian jamming at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem in 1941.

In similar fashion, a portable disc cutter was used to record Duke Ellington and his Orchestra in Fargo, North Dakota in 1940. You can read about that here.

While Steventon was using a tape recorder, made portable by being hooked up to an auto battery, tape was not yet an effective way to distribute recordings in 1953. Very few people had such machines.

But most people did have record players, and the standard format of the time was 78 rpm, which yielded at most five minutes per side on 10″ aluminum discs covered with acetate. “Long Playing” 33 1/3 rpm records were a new format, just beginning to gain popularity.

No doubt Steventon dated the RRC’s beginnings to 1953, since that is when he began making recordings, but it is alsolikely that is when he started distributing them. Using a homemade disc cutter meant the records were made in real time. As things gained in popularity, this would have taken up more and more of his time.

To distill much longer recordings to fit the five minute limit, Steventon spliced together all sorts of bits and pieces, and recorded brief introductions later, to tell listeners what they were about to hear.

Some of the homemade discs that Ken purchased have numbers on them. Others have stamped titles, which would indicate to me that Steventon was making them in quantity, and had rubber stamps made for the most popular titles.

These early records were distributed using a number sequence that is totally different than the later one adopted for the 10″ records issued in 1958 or later. Here is a partial list of these early releases:

01. Potomac Edison (aka Hagerstown & Frederick)
02. Shenandoah Central
03. Capital Transit
04. Johnstown Traction
05. Altoona & Logan Valley
06. Baltimore & Ohio
07. Shaker Heights Rapid Transit
08. Claude Mahoney Radio Program about NRHS fantrip (1953)
09. Pennsylvania Railroad
10. Nickel Plate Road
11. St. Louis Public Service
15. Baltimore Transit
16. Norfolk & Western
17. Western Maryland Railway
22. East Broad Top
24. Chicago & Illinois Midland

In this period (1953-55), Steventon was living in Washington, D.C., so many of his recordings were made in that area. He was originally from Mount Carmel, Illinois, which is near the Indiana border. That explains his Hoosier accent as heard on his introductions.

Over time, Steventon branched out, making recordings in other cities when he was on vacation. Regarding his traction recordings, he generally preferred to tape the older equipment, since these made all the right noises. It was more difficult to make successful recordings of PCC cars, since they were much quieter by design, but he did do some.

The success of these records surely inspired Steventon to have records made in quantity by a pressing plant, the RCA Custom Records Division. By 1957, the 33 1/3 rpm format had become the norm, and this permitted about 15 minutes per side on a 10″ record. The resulting disc could hold as much sound as three of the 78s, and weighed a lot less, saving on postage.

Eventually, Steventon began including detailed liner notes with his records, and largely abandoned the spoken introductions.

The 1958 newspaper article mentioned above said that Steventon had sold 1000 records in the previous year. Without his previous experience with homemade records, it is unlikely that Steventon would have records pressed commercially.

We have now cleaned up and digitized many of these early recordings, which are now available under the title Railroad Record Club Rarities. The Traction recordings fill two discs, and the Steam and Diesel tracks are on a single disc. More details are below.

Sometimes, in the absence of written records, or spoken introductions, it is only possible to identify certain recordings through a bit of detective work. As an example, on one recording, the only clues we have are Steventon’s brief mention of riding cars 80 and 83.

This narrows down considerably the list of possible locations. The most likely is the Philadelphia Suburban Transporation Company, also known as the Red Arrow Lines. Cars 80 and 83, which fortunately have survived, were 1932 Brill-built “Master Units.”

We know that Steventon made recordings of similar cars. On one of the Altoona discs, he even refers to an Osgood Bradley Electromobile at one point as a “Master Unit.”

Car 80 still runs to this day at the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton, PA., so there are YouTube recordings that I compared with this one. They sound very much the same.

Finally, the Steventon recording shows cars 80 and 83 running at speed, frequently blowing the horn, very much in interurban mode. The longest Red Arrow route, and the most interurban in character, was the West Chester line, which was largely side-of-the-road operation along West Chester Pike.

The final trolley trips on West Chester took place on June 6, 1954. We have written about this before– see Red Arrow in West Chester, September 13, 2016. Buses replaced trolleys so that West chester Pike could be widened.

The National Railway Historical Society held a fantrip after the last revenue runs were made. We know that Steventon participated in NRHS events, since one of the 78 rpm records he distributed features a radio program that discusses a 1953 NRHS excursion.

So, the most logical conclusion is that this rare recording was made by Steventon in 1953 or 1954, and documents the Red Arrow line to West Chester. This recording is included on Railroad Record Club Rarities – Traction.

While we are happy to report that we have finally achieved our long-sought goal of digitizing the Railroad Record Club’s later output, it seems very likely there are still more of these early recordings waiting to be discovered.

-David Sadowski

Now Available on Compact Disc

RRC-RT
Railroad Record Club Rarities – Traction!
# of Discs – 2
Price: $19.95

Railroad Record Club Rarities – Traction!
These are rare recordings, which date to 1953-55 and predate the 10″ LPs later issued by the Railroad Record Club. Many are previously unissued, and some are available here in a different (and longer) format than later releases, often including William A. Steventon’s spoken introductions. We have used the best available sources, and while some recordings sound excellent, others have some imperfections. But all are rare, rare, rare!

Includes Altoona & Logan Valley, Baltimore Transit, Capital Transit (Washington D.C.), Johnstown Traction, Pennsylvania GG-1s, Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Red Arrow, St. Louis Public Service, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, and South Shore Line Electric Freight.

Total time – 149:52


RRC-RSD
Railroad Record Club Rarities – Steam and Diesel!
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Railroad Record Club Rarities – Steam and Diesel
These are rare recordings, made by William A. Steventon between 1953 and 1955, and include his earliest recordings. These predate the regular output of the Railroad Record Club. Many are previously unissued, and some are available here in a different (and longer) format than later releases, often including William A. Steventon’s spoken introductions. In general, audio quality is good, but some recordings have imperfections. However, the best available sources have been used, and you won’t find them anywhere else. Much of this material has not been heard in over 60 years.

Includes: Baltimore & Ohio, Chicago & Illinois Midland, East Broad Top, Illinois Central, Nickel Plate road, Pennsylvania Railroad, Shenadoah Central, and even a 1953 radio broadcast by Claude Mahoney that discusses an NRHS fantrip.

Total time – 69:36


RRC #22 and 31
Buffalo Creek & Gauley
Sound Scrapbook – Steam!
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Railroad Record Club #22 and 31:

The Buffalo Creek and Gauley Railroad (BC&G) was a railroad chartered on April 1, 1904 and ran along Buffalo Creek in Clay County, West Virginia. The original Buffalo Creek and Gauley ended service in 1965.

The BC&G was one of the last all-steam railroads, never operating a diesel locomotive to the day it shut down in 1965. Its primary purpose was to bring coal out of the mountains above Widen to an interchange with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at Dundon. These recordings were made in 1960.

Sound Scrapbook – Steam! covers several different steam railroads, including Canadian National, National Railways of Mexico, McCloud River Railway, Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, Westside Lumber Company, Duluth Missabe & Iron Range, and Pickering Lumber Corp.

Total time – 62:43


RRC #32, Sampler for Years 3 & 4, and Steam Whistles and Bells
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

RRC #32, Sampler for Years 3 & 4, and Steam Whistles and Bells
This disc features the New York Central, recorded in 1954-55. It’s mainly steam, but with some diesel. In addition, the Railroad Record Club Sampler for years 3 and 4 includes selections from discs 9 through 16. Finally, we have included a very rare circa 1955 recording, Steam Whistles and Bells, which covers several properties across the country.

Total time – 72:07


Pre-Order Our New Book Chicago Trolleys

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

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

We are pleased to report that our new book Chicago Trolleys will be released on September 25th by Arcadia Publishing. You can pre-order an autographed copy through us today (see below). Chicago Trolleys will also be available wherever Arcadia books are sold.

Overview

Chicago’s extensive transit system first started in 1859, when horsecars ran on rails in city streets. Cable cars and electric streetcars came next. Where new trolley car lines were built, people, businesses, and neighborhoods followed. Chicago quickly became a world-class city. At its peak, Chicago had over 3,000 streetcars and 1,000 miles of track—the largest such system in the world. By the 1930s, there were also streamlined trolleys and trolley buses on rubber tires. Some parts of Chicago’s famous “L” system also used trolley wire instead of a third rail. Trolley cars once took people from the Loop to such faraway places as Aurora, Elgin, Milwaukee, and South Bend. A few still run today.

The book features 226 classic black-and-white images, each with detailed captions, in 10 chapters:

1. Early Traction
2. Consolidation and Growth
3. Trolleys to the Suburbs
4. Trolleys on the “L”
5. Interurbans Under Wire
6. The Streamlined Era
7. The War Years
8. Unification and Change
9. Trolley Buses
10. Preserving History

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467126816
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date: 09/25/2017
Series: Images of Rail
Pages: 128

Meet the Author

David Sadowski has been interested in streetcars ever since his father took him for a ride on one of the last remaining lines in 1958. He grew up riding trolley buses and “L” trains all over Chicago. He coauthored Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936–1958, and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog. Come along for the ride as we travel from one side of the city to the other and see how trolley cars and buses moved Chicago’s millions of hardworking, diverse people.

Images of Rail

The Images of Rail series celebrates the history of rail, trolley, streetcar, and subway transportation across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the people, places, and events that helped revolutionize transportation and commerce in 19th- and 20th-century America. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

The book costs just $21.99 plus shipping. Shipping within the US is included in the price. Shipping to Canada is just $5 additional, or $10 elsewhere.

Please note that Illinois residents must pay 10.00% sales tax on their purchases.

We appreciate your business!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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NEW – Chicago Trolleys Postcard Collection

We are pleased to report that selected images from our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys will be available on September 25th in a pack of 15 postcards, all for just $7.99. This is part of a series put out by Arcadia Publishing. Dimensions: 6″ wide x 4.25″ tall

The Postcards of America Series

Here in the 21st century, when everyone who’s anyone seems to do most of their communicating via Facebook and Twitter, it’s only natural to wax a little nostalgic when it comes to days gone by. What happened to more personal means of communication like hand-written letters on nice stationery? Why don’t people still send postcards when they move someplace new or go away on vacation?

If that line of thinking sounds familiar, then Arcadia Publishing’s Postcards of America was launched with you in mind. Each beautiful volume features a different collection of real vintage postcards that you can mail to your friends and family.

Pre-Order your Chicago Trolleys Postcard Pack today!

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Tip of the Iceberg

A remarkable photograph, this shows a group of early Chicago streetcar conductors and motormen, some displaying the tools of their trade (controller handles and switch irons). I am sure it was a tough job, and they look like a bunch of tough men. While Chicago's population has always been diverse, integration did not come to their ranks until October 1943, thanks in part to wartime manpower shortages. (And I do mean "manpower," since the CTA did not hire its first female bus driver until 1974.) I am wondering if this photo shows employees of the Chicago City Railway. If anyone can shed light on this photo, please let us know.

A remarkable photograph, this shows a group of early Chicago streetcar conductors and motormen, some displaying the tools of their trade (controller handles and switch irons). I am sure it was a tough job, and they look like a bunch of tough men. While Chicago’s population has always been diverse, integration did not come to their ranks until October 1943, thanks in part to wartime manpower shortages. (And I do mean “manpower,” since the CTA did not hire its first female bus driver until 1974.) I am wondering if this photo shows employees of the Chicago City Railway. If anyone can shed light on this photo, please let us know.

Lately, we have been hard at work on our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys. Meanwhile, new images have been piling up. It’s about time we started sharing them with you. Today’s batch is just the “tip of the iceberg,” so to speak.

The group picture above is just such an image. It came to us by way of a very large 11″ x 14″ negative. This in itself is rather remarkable. It was too big to scan all at once, but necessity is the mother of invention.

I scanned the image in quarters, and then discovered free software from Microsoft that flawlessly “stitched” the four back together. As old as this negative seems to be, it may not be the original. I have a feeling this neg was made from a glass plate.

Glass plate negatives are fragile, and there was some damage to the image, which I corrected using Photoshop. This took many hours of work, but the results speak for themselves. Chances are, this picture was taken between 1895 and 1915.

There are eight million stories in Railfan City.

-David Sadowski

Here is how the image originally looked, before I spent several hours eliminating the scratch using Photoshop.

Here is how the image originally looked, before I spent several hours eliminating the scratch using Photoshop.

The man in the middle not only has pointy shoes, but holds a switch iron.

The man in the middle not only has pointy shoes, but holds a switch iron.

Note the controller handle.

Note the controller handle.

Perhaps this badge may offer a clue as to which private operator these men may have worked for. One of our readers thinks the badge might say "C & S C," which could stand for the Calumet and South Chicago Railway Company, which was formed in 1908 through a merger of the South Chicago City Railway Co., and Calumet Electric Street Railway Co. It operated on the far south side of Chicago. In 1914, it became one of the underlying companies that formed the Chicago Surface Lines. Of course, it's pretty hard to make out. On the other hand, James Fahlstedt writes: "My take on the hat badge is that it reads CCSR. For what it is worth, it is put on the hat with and band or strap rather than fastened directly to the hat with split pins or similar device. The thing that I do not understand is that it is a metal badge. My CCR badge is leather. Could it read CGSR? Another thing I noticed is that there is something on the left side of the badge on the same line as the mystery letters that is totally illegible. Is a puzzlement." CCSR probably stands for Chicago City Street Railway. Perhaps the mystery has been solved.

Perhaps this badge may offer a clue as to which private operator these men may have worked for. One of our readers thinks the badge might say “C & S C,” which could stand for the Calumet and South Chicago Railway Company, which was formed in 1908 through a merger of the South Chicago City Railway Co., and Calumet Electric Street Railway Co. It operated on the far south side of Chicago. In 1914, it became one of the underlying companies that formed the Chicago Surface Lines. Of course, it’s pretty hard to make out. On the other hand, James Fahlstedt writes: “My take on the hat badge is that it reads CCSR. For what it is worth, it is put on the hat with and band or strap rather than fastened directly to the hat with split pins or similar device. The thing that I do not understand is that it is a metal badge. My CCR badge is leather. Could it read CGSR? Another thing I noticed is that there is something on the left side of the badge on the same line as the mystery letters that is totally illegible. Is a puzzlement.” CCSR probably stands for Chicago City Street Railway. Perhaps the mystery has been solved.

Recent Finds

CTA PCC 7256 heads south on State Street at Van Buren in the 1950s.

CTA PCC 7256 heads south on State Street at Van Buren in the 1950s.

This mid-1950s view of PCC 4406 is at Clark and Birchwood, it having just left Howard Street, north end of Route 22.

This mid-1950s view of PCC 4406 is at Clark and Birchwood, it having just left Howard Street, north end of Route 22.

CTA trolley bus 9193 on a March 2, 1958 Omnibus Society of America fantrip, at Kedzie Garage. Andre Kristopans: "This is in BACK of Kedzie, facing south. The wire came in off Kedzie between the carhouse and the washhouse, looped around in back and split into the three wired bays."

CTA trolley bus 9193 on a March 2, 1958 Omnibus Society of America fantrip, at Kedzie Garage. Andre Kristopans: “This is in BACK of Kedzie, facing south. The wire came in off Kedzie between the carhouse and the washhouse, looped around in back and split into the three wired bays.”

CTA Marmon-Herrington trolley bus 9737 heads east at Lawrence and Austin in August 1969. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

CTA Marmon-Herrington trolley bus 9737 heads east at Lawrence and Austin in August 1969. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

On January 1, 1954, eastbound CTA 1769 turns from Pine onto Lake Street, crossing the Lake Street "L" at grade. Streetcars were replaced by buses on May 30 that same year.

On January 1, 1954, eastbound CTA 1769 turns from Pine onto Lake Street, crossing the Lake Street “L” at grade. Streetcars were replaced by buses on May 30 that same year.

CTA Pullman PCC 4169 at the south end of Route 36 - Broadway-State, near 119th and Morgan, probably in the early 1950s. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

CTA Pullman PCC 4169 at the south end of Route 36 – Broadway-State, near 119th and Morgan, probably in the early 1950s. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

Passengers get off CTA trolley bus 9514, which is heading eastbound on Roosevelt at State in April 1964. The Roosevelt Road station on the South Side "L" was closed as of January 1963, when the North Shore Line quit. From 1949-63, NSL had exclusive use as N-S trains were routed through the State Street subway. These tracks were put back into regular service in 1969, with the opening of the Dan Ryan line, but the station was demolished and was not replaced by a new one until 1993, with the opening of the Orange Line.

Passengers get off CTA trolley bus 9514, which is heading eastbound on Roosevelt at State in April 1964. The Roosevelt Road station on the South Side “L” was closed as of January 1963, when the North Shore Line quit. From 1949-63, NSL had exclusive use as N-S trains were routed through the State Street subway. These tracks were put back into regular service in 1969, with the opening of the Dan Ryan line, but the station was demolished and was not replaced by a new one until 1993, with the opening of the Orange Line.

Roosevelt and State today.

Roosevelt and State today.

This photo shows the Kilbourn station on the Garfield Park "L" around 1954. By then, the station had been closed, and the stairways removed, in order to reduce running time due to the slow 2.5 mile temporary trackage at ground level east of Sacramento. The two-car train of CTA 4000s is about to cross the Congress Expressway, but the highway does not appear to be open yet. The "L" tracks were higher than normal at this location to cross railroad tracks just west of here. The line was relocated into the expressway median in 1958.

This photo shows the Kilbourn station on the Garfield Park “L” around 1954. By then, the station had been closed, and the stairways removed, in order to reduce running time due to the slow 2.5 mile temporary trackage at ground level east of Sacramento. The two-car train of CTA 4000s is about to cross the Congress Expressway, but the highway does not appear to be open yet. The “L” tracks were higher than normal at this location to cross railroad tracks just west of here. The line was relocated into the expressway median in 1958.

The CRT 42nd Place Yard, the end of the line for the Kenwood "L" branch, probably in the late 1920s.

The CRT 42nd Place Yard, the end of the line for the Kenwood “L” branch, probably in the late 1920s.

The Stock Yards "L" branch, looking east to Exchange, as it appeared on June 7, 1927.

The Stock Yards “L” branch, looking east to Exchange, as it appeared on June 7, 1927.

The North Side "L", looking south from Montrose. On the right, you see the ramp leading down to the Buena Yard.

The North Side “L”, looking south from Montrose. On the right, you see the ramp leading down to the Buena Yard.

CRT trailer 3237, possibly at Skokie Shops.

CRT trailer 3237, possibly at Skokie Shops.

CA&E 315 at an unknown location.

CA&E 315 at an unknown location.

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin cars 407 and 432 at the Forest Park terminal in September 1955. CA&E service was cut back to here two years earlier. 407 was a Pullman, built in 1923, while 432 was a 1927 product of the Cincinnati Car Company. Riders could change here "cross platform" for CTA Garfield Park "L" trains.

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin cars 407 and 432 at the Forest Park terminal in September 1955. CA&E service was cut back to here two years earlier. 407 was a Pullman, built in 1923, while 432 was a 1927 product of the Cincinnati Car Company. Riders could change here “cross platform” for CTA Garfield Park “L” trains.

CTA PCC 4265, a Pullman product, heads north on State at Lake circa 1948, while Alfred Hitchcock's film Rope plays at the State-Lake Theater. This has since been converted into production facilities for WLS-TV.

CTA PCC 4265, a Pullman product, heads north on State at Lake circa 1948, while Alfred Hitchcock’s film Rope plays at the State-Lake Theater. This has since been converted into production facilities for WLS-TV.

Here is a nice side view of CSL 4005 at Kedzie Station (car barn). At this time, the 83 Prewar PCCs were assigned to Route 20 - Madison.

Here is a nice side view of CSL 4005 at Kedzie Station (car barn). At this time, the 83 Prewar PCCs were assigned to Route 20 – Madison.

Faced with a manpower shortage during World War II, some transit lines hired female operators (although the Chicago Surface Lines did not). Here, we see Mrs. Cleo Rigby (left) and Mrs. Katherine Tuttle training in North Chicago on June 25, 1943. That would be for the North Shore Line's city streetcar operations, which were mainly in Waukegan.

Faced with a manpower shortage during World War II, some transit lines hired female operators (although the Chicago Surface Lines did not). Here, we see Mrs. Cleo Rigby (left) and Mrs. Katherine Tuttle training in North Chicago on June 25, 1943. That would be for the North Shore Line’s city streetcar operations, which were mainly in Waukegan.

A northbound two-car Evanston shuttle train is held up momentarily at Howard in the 1950s, as track work is going on up ahead. The rear car is 1766. Don's Rail Photos says, "1756 thru 1768 were built by Jewett Car in 1903 as Northwestern Elevated Railway 756 thru 768. They were renumbered 1756 thru 1768 in 1913 and became CRT 1756 thru 1768 in 1923." Wood cars last ran on Evanston in 1957. Notice that the station is also being painted.

A northbound two-car Evanston shuttle train is held up momentarily at Howard in the 1950s, as track work is going on up ahead. The rear car is 1766. Don’s Rail Photos says, “1756 thru 1768 were built by Jewett Car in 1903 as Northwestern Elevated Railway 756 thru 768. They were renumbered 1756 thru 1768 in 1913 and became CRT 1756 thru 1768 in 1923.” Wood cars last ran on Evanston in 1957. Notice that the station is also being painted.

CTA postwar PCC 4404 is heading south, turning from Archer onto Wentworth on June 20, 1958, the last full day of streetcar service in Chicago. This was the last photo of a Chicago streetcar taken by the late Bob Selle.

CTA postwar PCC 4404 is heading south, turning from Archer onto Wentworth on June 20, 1958, the last full day of streetcar service in Chicago. This was the last photo of a Chicago streetcar taken by the late Bob Selle.

A close-up of the previous photo shows some evidence of Bondo-type patch work on 4404.

A close-up of the previous photo shows some evidence of Bondo-type patch work on 4404.

CTA 7051 is southbound at State and Delaware on route 36 Broadway-State in the early 1950s. We ran another picture taken at this location in our post Recent Finds, Part 2 (December 12, 2016), showing a PCC going the other way. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

CTA 7051 is southbound at State and Delaware on route 36 Broadway-State in the early 1950s. We ran another picture taken at this location in our post Recent Finds, Part 2 (December 12, 2016), showing a PCC going the other way. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

The controller car of CTA Red Pullman 144, as it looked on a mid-1950s fantrip. This car is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)

The controller car of CTA Red Pullman 144, as it looked on a mid-1950s fantrip. This car is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)

CTA Red Pullman 225 at 77th and Vincennes on a mid-1950s fantrip. This car is preserved at Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)

CTA Red Pullman 225 at 77th and Vincennes on a mid-1950s fantrip. This car is preserved at Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)

CTA Red Pullman 445 is on Route 21 - Cermak circa 1950. Behind it, you see the Lakeside Diner and Boulevard Buick, the latter located at 230 E. Cermak. Today, this is near the location of McCormick Place.

CTA Red Pullman 445 is on Route 21 – Cermak circa 1950. Behind it, you see the Lakeside Diner and Boulevard Buick, the latter located at 230 E. Cermak. Today, this is near the location of McCormick Place.

CTA Red Pullman 104 is at Cermak and Prairie, east end of Route 21. This was just a few blocks away from Kodak's Prairie Avenue processing plant, located at 1712 S. Prairie Avenue. Many a railfan's Kodachrome slides were developed and mounted there, until the facility closed in the mid-1980s. You can read more about it here. The landmark R.R. Donnelley and Sons Co. Calumet Plant, also known as the Lakeside Plant, is at rear. The plant closed in 1993, after Sears discontinued their catalog, and the building is now used as a data center.

CTA Red Pullman 104 is at Cermak and Prairie, east end of Route 21. This was just a few blocks away from Kodak’s Prairie Avenue processing plant, located at 1712 S. Prairie Avenue. Many a railfan’s Kodachrome slides were developed and mounted there, until the facility closed in the mid-1980s. You can read more about it here. The landmark R.R. Donnelley and Sons Co. Calumet Plant, also known as the Lakeside Plant, is at rear. The plant closed in 1993, after Sears discontinued their catalog, and the building is now used as a data center.

CSL “Big” Pullman 183 is eastbound on Roosevelt at Ashland on January 15, 1937, while 5502, an Ashland car, is turning west onto Roosevelt to jog over to Paulina. That’s Immanuel Lutheran Church in the background.

CSL “Big” Pullman 183 is eastbound on Roosevelt at Ashland on January 15, 1937, while 5502, an Ashland car, is turning west onto Roosevelt to jog over to Paulina. That’s Immanuel Lutheran Church in the background.

CTA 7238 on State street in the early 1950s. The clock at right belongs to C. D. Peacock jewelers, a Chicago institution since 1837. (Water Hulseweder Photo)

CTA 7238 on State street in the early 1950s. The clock at right belongs to C. D. Peacock jewelers, a Chicago institution since 1837. (Water Hulseweder Photo)

Chicago, South Shore & South Bend car 31 and train at Wilson, Indiana, on an early CERA fantrip (possibly September 20, 1942). Mitch adds, "The photo of the South Shore Line fan trip, 1942 in this episode of “The Trolley Dodger,” appears to be at Power Siding, between Sheridan and the Highway 12 crossing west of Michigan City."

Chicago, South Shore & South Bend car 31 and train at Wilson, Indiana, on an early CERA fantrip (possibly September 20, 1942). Mitch adds, “The photo of the South Shore Line fan trip, 1942 in this episode of “The Trolley Dodger,” appears to be at Power Siding, between Sheridan and the Highway 12 crossing west of Michigan City.”

Here, we see a rare shot of a CSL trolley bus on North Avenue in 1940. While route 72 - North was not converted to trolley bus until July 3, 1949, there was wire between the garage near Cicero Avenue and Narragansett. TBs ran on Narragansett until 1953, when route 86 was combined with the one-mile extension of North between Narragansett and Harlem. This TB is signed for route 76 (Diversey), which used TBs until 1955. The destination sign also says North-Lamon, site of the garage, but the slope of the street would indicate the bus is actually heading west. There is TB wire special work turning off to the right in the background, perhaps indicating that the bus has just left the garage. Andre Kristopans: "I THINK WB about Lavergne, pulling out." There would be streetcar tracks on this section. Andre again: "There are car tracks. You can barely see a couple of hangers to the right of the bus. North Av is very wide at this point, almost 6 lanes, and TT's did not share wire."

Here, we see a rare shot of a CSL trolley bus on North Avenue in 1940. While route 72 – North was not converted to trolley bus until July 3, 1949, there was wire between the garage near Cicero Avenue and Narragansett. TBs ran on Narragansett until 1953, when route 86 was combined with the one-mile extension of North between Narragansett and Harlem. This TB is signed for route 76 (Diversey), which used TBs until 1955. The destination sign also says North-Lamon, site of the garage, but the slope of the street would indicate the bus is actually heading west. There is TB wire special work turning off to the right in the background, perhaps indicating that the bus has just left the garage. Andre Kristopans: “I THINK WB about Lavergne, pulling out.” There would be streetcar tracks on this section. Andre again: “There are car tracks. You can barely see a couple of hangers to the right of the bus. North Av is very wide at this point, almost 6 lanes, and TT’s did not share wire.”

North Shore Line wood car 300, during its time as the Central Electric Railfans' Association club car, probably circa 1939-40.

North Shore Line wood car 300, during its time as the Central Electric Railfans’ Association club car, probably circa 1939-40.

Don's Rail Photos says, "300 thru 302 were built by Jewett in 1909 as mainline coaches. As the steel cars arrived, they were downgraded to local and school tripper service. In 1936 they became sleet cutters. In 1939 300 was turned over to the Central Electric Railfans Association as a private car. The ownership remained with the CNS&M, but the maintenance was taken over by CERA. During the war, with many members in service, CERA relinquished control, and the car was scrapped in 1947. 301 and 302 were retired in 1939 and scrapped in 1940."

Don’s Rail Photos says, “300 thru 302 were built by Jewett in 1909 as mainline coaches. As the steel cars arrived, they were downgraded to local and school tripper service. In 1936 they became sleet cutters. In 1939 300 was turned over to the Central Electric Railfans Association as a private car. The ownership remained with the CNS&M, but the maintenance was taken over by CERA. During the war, with many members in service, CERA relinquished control, and the car was scrapped in 1947. 301 and 302 were retired in 1939 and scrapped in 1940.”

Perhaps someone can help us identify the location of car 300, somewhere along the Shore Line Route.

Perhaps someone can help us identify the location of car 300, somewhere along the Shore Line Route.

New Site Additions

This picture has been added to our post The Great Chicago Interurbans – Part Two (CNS&M) (February 5, 2017):

The Angel's Flight funicular on June 13, 1961. (George Basch Photo)

The Angel’s Flight funicular on June 13, 1961. (George Basch Photo)

This one’s been added to Night Beat (June 21, 2016):

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

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

Here’s another one for More LVT Photos & Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 12-14-2015:

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

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

Recent Correspondence

Jack Bejna writes:

Hi Dave, here’s a few more of my CA&E images. All of these shots were cleaned up with Photoshop.

PS: The Julie Johnson collection website is back on line as of this morning (March 2). Great collection and I’m in it all the time.

Thanks very much!

Here's a head-on shot of CA&E cars 48 (Stephenson 1902) & 316 (Jewett 1913).

Here’s a head-on shot of CA&E cars 48 (Stephenson 1902) & 316 (Jewett 1913).

CA&E 30, my shot near the shops circa 1955.

CA&E 30, my shot near the shops circa 1955.

CA&E 18 looking good in this shot.

CA&E 18 looking good in this shot.

A train of the first cars with just the top of the old dispatcher tower in the background.

A train of the first cars with just the top of the old dispatcher tower in the background.

Here is an image of the old tower, just about the only one from this angle.

Here is an image of the old tower, just about the only one from this angle.

This is my shot of the new Dispatchers tower, circa 1955.

This is my shot of the new Dispatchers tower, circa 1955.

Here's one more that I think you'll like. It looks like CA&E 310 (Hicks 1908) just came out of the paint shop, and boy did they do a nice job!

Here’s one more that I think you’ll like. It looks like CA&E 310 (Hicks 1908) just came out of the paint shop, and boy did they do a nice job!

One more for you that I completed this morning. It's CA&E 319 (Jewett 1914) heading a line of cars. I got the original from Hicks Car Works, which is the JJ collection. It was a really bad picture and it took about 4 hours to complete.

One more for you that I completed this morning. It’s CA&E 319 (Jewett 1914) heading a line of cars. I got the original from Hicks Car Works, which is the JJ collection. It was a really bad picture and it took about 4 hours to complete.

James Fahlstedt writes:

I just recently discovered your blog and really enjoy it. First of all, I do not know much regarding Chicago traction, but have always been a fan. I love the city, I loved the interurbans (I was fortunate to have ridden all three of the big ones) and I even love the buses. I have made a small purchase of your books and videos and plan to buy more as my finances allow.

Second, I like the way those who know things seem to be willing to share their knowledge. I firmly believe that knowledge is something to be shared, not hidden.

Third, I like that the photos on the blog are of a sufficient resolution that they can actually be seen and enjoyed.

Anyway, if I know anything appropriate, I will pitch in.

Great, thanks! Glad you like the site.

Eric Miller writes:

I am looking for a photographer named C. Scholes to return some photo prints.

We posted a 1952 photo by a C. R. Scholes in One Good Turn (January 20, 2017).  That’s all the information we have.  Perhaps one of our readers can help further, thanks.

Mr. Miller replies:

That would be great!

Here are some shots of “Betty” making the rounds in Uptown, Dallas for you.

(Editor’s note: This is the the McKinney Avenue trolley, aka the M-Line.)

Scans of several new publications have been added to our E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available in our Online Store. These include:

Surface Service (CSL employee magazine), February 1942, March 1942, July 1943, June 1945, and June 1946

CTA brochure advertising National Transportation Week, May 1960

Hi-res scan of 1957 CTA Annual Report

Gorilla My Dreams

While this isn’t transit related, I figured our readers might enjoy seeing these pictures, which show a publicity float for the 1949 film Mighty Joe Young. This was a sort-of remake of King Kong, which reunited much of the same creative team involved with the 1933 original, including Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Robert Armstrong. Ruth Rose, Marcel Delgado, and Willis O’Brien. If anyone knows where this parade may have taken place, please let me know.

-David Sadowski

street-railwayreview1895-002

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Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Eight

This famous photo shows Tower 18 at Lake and Wells in 1917, a very busy intersection indeed. We are looking north along Wells. In 1969, the tower was torn down and replaced in a slightly different location, so that Lake Street trains could continue directly east instead of having to turn south on Wells. This was done to facilitate pairing the Lake line with the new Dan Ryan service. (George Trapp collection)

This famous photo shows Tower 18 at Lake and Wells in 1917, a very busy intersection indeed. We are looking north along Wells. In 1969, the tower was torn down and replaced in a slightly different location, so that Lake Street trains could continue directly east instead of having to turn south on Wells. This was done to facilitate pairing the Lake line with the new Dan Ryan service. (George Trapp collection)

I apologize for the 16-day gap since our last post, but I recently worked 15 straight days as an election judge. It usually takes me a while to recover when I do this. On the other hand, I have friends who say it will take them the next four years to recover from this election, so I should consider myself fortunate.

Today we have another generous selection of Chicago rapid transit photos from the collections of George Trapp. We thank him again for sharing these with our readers.

Today, we are mainly featuring the South Side “L”, used by today’s CTA Green Line, plus Howard Street on the North side, and the Niles Center/Skokie branch, today’s Yellow Line.

As always, if you have anything interesting to add to the discussion, you can either leave a comment here on this post, or contact us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Thanks.

-David Sadowski

PS- To find earlier posts in our series, just type “Chicago rapid transit” in the search window at the top of the page.


CTA hi-speed 6129 at Chicago Avenue on the Ravenswood (today's Brown Line) in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA hi-speed 6129 at Chicago Avenue on the Ravenswood (today’s Brown Line) in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA high-speeds 32 and 4 at Kimball on the Ravenswood in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA high-speeds 32 and 4 at Kimball on the Ravenswood in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA high-speed 3 at Kimball in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA high-speed 3 at Kimball in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)

This look like the Linden Yard in Wilmette to me. The date is 1957-58. George Trapp: "Linden Yard but looking North toward Linden Station." (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection) This and the other photos taken at the same time are "Kodachrome prints" (see the next picture).

This look like the Linden Yard in Wilmette to me. The date is 1957-58. George Trapp: “Linden Yard but looking North toward Linden Station.” (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection) This and the other photos taken at the same time are “Kodachrome prints” (see the next picture).

The phrase "Kodachrome print" has gone by the wayside. But back in the old days, there were two different ways to make color prints-- a Type C print from a negative, and a Type R print from a slide. You could also have a C print made from a slide by way of an internegative, which somewhat reduced the inevitable buildup in contrast printing direct, but also sacrificed some sharpness. Scanning and modern color printing has replaced much of this.

The phrase “Kodachrome print” has gone by the wayside. But back in the old days, there were two different ways to make color prints– a Type C print from a negative, and a Type R print from a slide. You could also have a C print made from a slide by way of an internegative, which somewhat reduced the inevitable buildup in contrast printing direct, but also sacrificed some sharpness. Scanning and modern color printing has replaced much of this.

A pair of flat-door 6000s at Howard Yard circa 1957-58. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A pair of flat-door 6000s at Howard Yard circa 1957-58. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Howard Yard, 1957-58. This was taken at the same time as the previous photo. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Howard Yard, 1957-58. This was taken at the same time as the previous photo. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

THe view looking north from the transfer bridge at Howard in 1957-58. The tracks going to the north are Evanston; at left, the North Shore Line's Skokie Valley Route, site of today's Yellow Line. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

THe view looking north from the transfer bridge at Howard in 1957-58. The tracks going to the north are Evanston; at left, the North Shore Line’s Skokie Valley Route, site of today’s Yellow Line. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

In response to demands that the struggling Chicago Rapid Transit Company replace their aging fleet of wooden cars with modern ones, the company had a mock-up built for a proposed 5000-series car at Skokie Shops. This shows some influence from New York City cars. The 5001-5004 articulated cars that were eventually built in 1947-48 were patterned after the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit "Bluebirds," but styling from this mock-up does seem to be reflected in the 6000s that followed in 1950. (George Trapp Collection)

In response to demands that the struggling Chicago Rapid Transit Company replace their aging fleet of wooden cars with modern ones, the company had a mock-up built for a proposed 5000-series car at Skokie Shops. This shows some influence from New York City cars. The 5001-5004 articulated cars that were eventually built in 1947-48 were patterned after the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit “Bluebirds,” but styling from this mock-up does seem to be reflected in the 6000s that followed in 1950. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT gate car 2509, shown here coupled to 4395, is signed for Westchester, so this may be Laramie Yard on the Garfield Park "L". (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT gate car 2509, shown here coupled to 4395, is signed for Westchester, so this may be Laramie Yard on the Garfield Park “L”. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A Niles Center car at Main Street in Skokie. (George Trapp Collection)

A Niles Center car at Main Street in Skokie. (George Trapp Collection)

When the Niles Center branch ran (1925-1948), Chicago's rapid transit lines depended on a lot of walk-in riders from the neighborhoods. Unfortunately, large parts of Skokie were not built up until after World War II. (George Trapp Collection)

When the Niles Center branch ran (1925-1948), Chicago’s rapid transit lines depended on a lot of walk-in riders from the neighborhoods. Unfortunately, large parts of Skokie were not built up until after World War II. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 1804, shown here at Crawford, has just changed over from overhead wire to third rail on its inbound journey. George Trapp: "This car, built by A. C. F., was originally a trailer as were all the cars from 1789-1815. These cars are quite similar to the 1769-1788 built by Pullman in 1909." (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 1804, shown here at Crawford, has just changed over from overhead wire to third rail on its inbound journey. George Trapp: “This car, built by A. C. F., was originally a trailer as were all the cars from 1789-1815. These cars are quite similar to the 1769-1788 built by Pullman in 1909.” (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 1807 in the pocket track at Dempster, northern end of the Niles Center branch. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 1807 in the pocket track at Dempster, northern end of the Niles Center branch. (George Trapp Collection)

A train of CRT 4000s on the North Shore Line. (George Trapp Collection)

A train of CRT 4000s on the North Shore Line. (George Trapp Collection)

The north end of Howard Yard in CRT days. (George Trapp Collection)

The north end of Howard Yard in CRT days. (George Trapp Collection)

The north end of Howard Yard in CRT days. George Trapp: "Note cars 1776 and 1779, which head up the two trains at right. Built by Pullman in 1909, these were the last wooden cars built new in Chicago." (George Trapp Collection)

The north end of Howard Yard in CRT days. George Trapp: “Note cars 1776 and 1779, which head up the two trains at right. Built by Pullman in 1909, these were the last wooden cars built new in Chicago.” (George Trapp Collection)

Construction at Skokie Shops. By comparing this photo to a similar one on Graham Garfield's web site, we can date this to about 1930. George Trapp: "Construction at Skokie (Niles Center at time of photo) is late 1920's or early 1930's. Wood cars at right are in CRT Green and Orange scheme." (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Construction at Skokie Shops. By comparing this photo to a similar one on Graham Garfield’s web site, we can date this to about 1930. George Trapp: “Construction at Skokie (Niles Center at time of photo) is late 1920’s or early 1930’s. Wood cars at right are in CRT Green and Orange scheme.” (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

The view looking north from Howard Street. George Trapp dates this to the "late 1920's - 1930's." (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

The view looking north from Howard Street. George Trapp dates this to the “late 1920’s – 1930’s.” (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

The Ravenswood terminal at Lawrence and Kimball in CRT days. (George Trapp Collection)

The Ravenswood terminal at Lawrence and Kimball in CRT days. (George Trapp Collection)

CTA high-speed car 4, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1960, at Skokie Shops in December 1962. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA high-speed car 4, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1960, at Skokie Shops in December 1962. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA 29 outbound from Howard on the new Skokie Swift in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA 29 outbound from Howard on the new Skokie Swift in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA high-speed car 2 at Skokie Shops in June 1962. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA high-speed car 2 at Skokie Shops in June 1962. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA car 4 near Howard in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA car 4 near Howard in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA car 2 near Howard in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA car 2 near Howard in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)

CRT 4320 at Skokie Shops, freshly repainted. George Trapp: "CRT 4320 not CTA, car is freshly painted in CRT Green and Orange and is a Met assigned car note position of safety springs and Van Dorn coupler." Comparison with a similar photograph dates this one to 1937. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT 4320 at Skokie Shops, freshly repainted. George Trapp: “CRT 4320 not CTA, car is freshly painted in CRT Green and Orange and is a Met assigned car note position of safety springs and Van Dorn coupler.” Comparison with a similar photograph dates this one to 1937. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Gate cars at Howard. (George Trapp Collection)

Gate cars at Howard. (George Trapp Collection)

A CTA single car unit at Howard on the Evanston shuttle. (Lou Gerard Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A CTA single car unit (28) at Howard on the Evanston shuttle. (Lou Gerard Photo, George Trapp Collection)

George Trapp: "Car 2788 is probably at 54th Avenue yard on Douglas Park branch as that is what rear side sign says." (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

George Trapp: “Car 2788 is probably at 54th Avenue yard on Douglas Park branch as that is what rear side sign says.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

An old postcard view of the Wells Street bridge over the Chicago River. I assume we are looking north. The clock tower is part of the old Chicago & North Western station. It would be nice to see this one in color. (George Trapp Collection)

An old postcard view of the Wells Street bridge over the Chicago River. I assume we are looking north. The clock tower is part of the old Chicago & North Western station. It would be nice to see this one in color. (George Trapp Collection)

Metropolitan Elevated Railway car 800 heads up a train in the early 1900s at the old Glenwood amusement park in Batavia on the Aurora, Elgin & Chicago (later the CA&E). That's the branch's large powerhouse in the background. Circa 1960, this was considered (but rejected) as the new home for the fledgling Illinois Electric Railway Museum. (George Trapp Collection)

Metropolitan Elevated Railway car 800 heads up a train in the early 1900s at the old Glenwood amusement park in Batavia on the Aurora, Elgin & Chicago (later the CA&E). That’s the branch’s large powerhouse in the background. Circa 1960, this was considered (but rejected) as the new home for the fledgling Illinois Electric Railway Museum. (George Trapp Collection)

Unlike this one, most 4000-series "L" cars did not have giant thumbprints on them. So, either the Cardiff Giant has paid a visit, or someone put their thumb onto a wet print or negative. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Unlike this one, most 4000-series “L” cars did not have giant thumbprints on them. So, either the Cardiff Giant has paid a visit, or someone put their thumb onto a wet print or negative. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

This photo of two gate cars on the Loop "L" is a bit scratchy, but I think I recognize the Insurance Exchange Building at right, which would make this the Wells leg of the Loop, looking north. (George Trapp Collection)

This photo of two gate cars on the Loop “L” is a bit scratchy, but I think I recognize the Insurance Exchange Building at right, which would make this the Wells leg of the Loop, looking north. (George Trapp Collection)

The South Side "L" crossing Garfield Boulevard (55th), circa the 1920s. (George Trapp Collection)

The South Side “L” crossing Garfield Boulevard (55th), circa the 1920s. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT gate car 50. Don's Rail Photos says, "50 was built by Jackson & Sharpe in 1892 as SSRT 50. It became CERy 50 in 1913 and CRT 50 in 1923. It was rebuilt as S2 in 1939." (George Trapp Collection)

CRT gate car 50. Don’s Rail Photos says, “50 was built by Jackson & Sharpe in 1892 as SSRT 50. It became CERy 50 in 1913 and CRT 50 in 1923. It was rebuilt as S2 in 1939.” (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 4265 heads up a northbound train going into the State Street subway not far south of Roosevelt Road. It is signed as going to both Howard and Skokie. This picture must have been taken between 1943 and 1948. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT 4265 heads up a northbound train going into the State Street subway not far south of Roosevelt Road. It is signed as going to both Howard and Skokie. This picture must have been taken between 1943 and 1948. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

61st Street on the South Side "L". (George Trapp Collection)

61st Street on the South Side “L”. (George Trapp Collection)

M. E. says this is "the view facing west at Indiana, again while the Kenwood line was a through line." George Trapp: "The center-door steel car is a loop-bound Kenwood train, shown at the junction with the main South Side "L". The 4-car train is a north-south through train. The wood train about to cross in front of the Kenwood train is probably a Loop-bound Englewood train." The tracks at right were used for freight. This photo was taken from the roof of the building shown on the left of the next picture that follows. Contrast this with a photo taken circa 1955-57 at much the same spot in our previous post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Three (March 23, 2016). (George Trapp Collection)

M. E. says this is “the view facing west at Indiana, again while the Kenwood line was a through line.” George Trapp: “The center-door steel car is a loop-bound Kenwood train, shown at the junction with the main South Side “L”. The 4-car train is a north-south through train. The wood train about to cross in front of the Kenwood train is probably a Loop-bound Englewood train.” The tracks at right were used for freight. This photo was taken from the roof of the building shown on the left of the next picture that follows. Contrast this with a photo taken circa 1955-57 at much the same spot in our previous post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Three (March 23, 2016). (George Trapp Collection)

I thought perhaps this was a Stock Yards train, but close examination of the sign seems to indicate it's a Kenwood instead. If you zoom in, you can also see freight tracks at left, which paralleled the Kenwood line on an embankment. If so, we are looking east from where the Kenwood branch met the South Side main line near Indiana Avenue. (George Trapp Collection)

I thought perhaps this was a Stock Yards train, but close examination of the sign seems to indicate it’s a Kenwood instead. If you zoom in, you can also see freight tracks at left, which paralleled the Kenwood line on an embankment. If so, we are looking east from where the Kenwood branch met the South Side main line near Indiana Avenue. (George Trapp Collection)

An enlargement of the previous photo, showing the Kenwood right-of-way adjacent to freight tracks on an embankment. I am not sure which movie theater that is in the background-- the only Park Theater I know of was located at Lake and Austin. This picture was probably taken in Kenwood shuttle days on the CTA (1949-1957), since there is only the one track connecting it with the main line. Two tracks were visible in the earlier picture taken from the roof of a nearby building. Chris Cole adds, "The Park Theater is listed in Cinema Treasures at 3955 S King Dr. That matches the location in the picture."

An enlargement of the previous photo, showing the Kenwood right-of-way adjacent to freight tracks on an embankment. I am not sure which movie theater that is in the background– the only Park Theater I know of was located at Lake and Austin. This picture was probably taken in Kenwood shuttle days on the CTA (1949-1957), since there is only the one track connecting it with the main line. Two tracks were visible in the earlier picture taken from the roof of a nearby building. Chris Cole adds, “The Park Theater is listed in Cinema Treasures at 3955 S King Dr. That matches the location in the picture.”

The facade of the old Park Theater, located at 3955 S. Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. Drive, is still there, next to the abandoned embankment that once housed the Kenwood "L".

The facade of the old Park Theater, located at 3955 S. Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. Drive, is still there, next to the abandoned embankment that once housed the Kenwood “L”.

M. E. writes: "The sign says Kenwood to Indiana Ave., which was the shuttle service."

M. E. writes: “The sign says Kenwood to Indiana Ave., which was the shuttle service.”

We are looking east from the Indiana Avenue station. Off in the distance, more or less straight ahead, is the Kenwood branch of the "L". The north-south main line heads off to the right (south) at this point, and Stock Yards service would go behind us to the west. M. E. adds: "The caption also says Stock Yards service is behind the photographer. It would be more accurate to say the Stock Yards L used the south side of the south platform, which is visible in the picture. From there the Stock Yards L headed west (behind the photographer) to Halsted, then into the stock yards. This picture was taken while the Kenwood line was still a through line into the Loop (and possibly north to Wilson). The same view after the Kenwood line was cut back to a shuttle is in photo dave408." George Trapp adds: "straight ahead with jog is the Kenwood Branch, which shared embankment with Chicago Junction Ry." (George Trapp Collection)

We are looking east from the Indiana Avenue station. Off in the distance, more or less straight ahead, is the Kenwood branch of the “L”. The north-south main line heads off to the right (south) at this point, and Stock Yards service would go behind us to the west. M. E. adds: “The caption also says Stock Yards service is behind the photographer. It would be more accurate to say the Stock Yards L used the south side of the south platform, which is visible in the picture. From there the Stock Yards L headed west (behind the photographer) to Halsted, then into the stock yards. This picture was taken while the Kenwood line was still a through line into the Loop (and possibly north to Wilson). The same view after the Kenwood line was cut back to a shuttle is in photo dave408.” George Trapp adds: “straight ahead with jog is the Kenwood Branch, which shared embankment with Chicago Junction Ry.” (George Trapp Collection)

David Vartanoff noticed that this Chicago Blues LP features a cover shot of the "L", taken where Kenwood branched off from the main line.

David Vartanoff noticed that this Chicago Blues LP features a cover shot of the “L”, taken where Kenwood branched off from the main line.

61st Street on the South side "L". (George Trapp Collection)

61st Street on the South side “L”. (George Trapp Collection)

George Trapp: "The pair of South Side gate cars are at Lake between State and Wabash on a Wilson Ave. Local, probably originating on the Kenwood Branch." (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

George Trapp: “The pair of South Side gate cars are at Lake between State and Wabash on a Wilson Ave. Local, probably originating on the Kenwood Branch.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

This old photo shows South Side Rapid Transit car 131 at 63rd Street in 1899. (George Trapp Collection)

This old photo shows South Side Rapid Transit car 131 at 63rd Street in 1899. (George Trapp Collection)

South Side Rapid Transit car 139 rounding the curve at Harrison and State, probably in the late 1890s. George Foelschow: "The photo of South Side car 139 on the Harrison curve April 16, 1898 appears on page 35 of CERA B-131, authored by Bruce Moffat. Multiple-unit inventor Frank Sprague may be at the controls, since he is pictured on the following page the next day on an M-U test at 61st Street yard. These tests presaged the steam to electric conversion on the South Side “L”." (George Trapp Collection)

South Side Rapid Transit car 139 rounding the curve at Harrison and State, probably in the late 1890s. George Foelschow: “The photo of South Side car 139 on the Harrison curve April 16, 1898 appears on page 35 of CERA B-131, authored by Bruce Moffat. Multiple-unit inventor Frank Sprague may be at the controls, since he is pictured on the following page the next day on an M-U test at 61st Street yard. These tests presaged the steam to electric conversion on the South Side “L”.” (George Trapp Collection)

It is not widely known, but during its first few years, the South side "L" was powered by steam. This picture was taken at Indiana Avenue in the 1890s. (George Trapp Collection)

It is not widely known, but during its first few years, the South side “L” was powered by steam. This picture was taken at Indiana Avenue in the 1890s. (George Trapp Collection)

Finally, here are a few more pictures from a 4000s fantrip on the Skokie Swift in the late 1970s or early 1980s:

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)


Recent Correspondence

Adam Platt from Minneapolis writes:

Hello David… very much enjoy the blog and look forward to your posts.

A couple of notes regarding the current post.

—Re Kenwood shuttle–The Park theater at 40th and Grand Blvd opened as the Grand Oak, a vaudeville house, but became the Park during the period 1937-1958.

—The single unit at Howard NB on Evanston shuttle is car 28. Throughout the late 1960s and 70s, the car assignments on Evanston (still hard to think of it as the Purple Line) were single units 27, 28, 39-50. I practically lived on these cars growing up in east Wilmette. Later the CTA moved single units 5-22 and 31-38 from the Ravenswood to Linden and they operated in rush hour Evanston Express service, but I believe lacking fireboxes, they did not run in shuttle service.

1-4 were retired early, though I remember riding 4 on Skokie in the 1970s, in normal green/white CTA paint, though service there was held down mostly by cars 23-26, 29-30, which had pan trolleys, with doodlebugs 51-54 running in rush hour. Ultimately all 5-50 finished their lives on Evanston, I believe, though perhaps the Skokie cars migrated straight to the scrapper.

The Evanston shuttle operation was really one of the most interesting in the system because it ran one-man with the motorman collecting fares from many of the low volume Evanston stations until approx 1980. And notably, these motormen managed to collect fares, operate the doors, and run the line faster than most current CTA one-man operators. And Evanston ran one-man all but roughly 35 hours a week, which is amazing when you consider today’s volumes, though I think there are half as many off peak runs on Evanston than there were back in single unit days. I recall 4 cars typically active at once (but don’t hold me to it). Of course, some stations had agents in rush hours, some in middays. I do believe around 1980 CTA went to mostly two-car trains on Evanston shuttle and this unique operation was history.

Adam adds:

And of course after I sent this I discovered that all the 5-50 cars ended their life running infrequently on weekends on the Blue Line, as the CTA could not retire them due to the constraints of a federally funded rehab.


Stephen M. Scalzo, In Memoriam

We are shocked by the news that long-time railfan historian Stephen M. Scalzo has died at the age of 73.  His family has graciously shared the notice they have prepared with us. You can read it here.

Steve was a long-time member of the Chicagotransit Yahoo discussion group, and had a background as a railfan journalist and historian going back more than 50 years. He will be sorely missed by all of us.

-David Sadowski


Another Milestone

In the first few days of November, we passed last year’s total of 107,460 page views, even though there have been fewer posts (57 vs. 108). This year’s posts, on the other hand, are longer and contain more pictures. Our current total of 218,332 page views in less than two years now exceeds that of the previous blog we worked on, and we have done this in a shorter period of time.

We must be doing something right, eh?


New Book Project

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


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 165th 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 218,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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

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

We thank you for your support.

Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 3-27-2016

cop1923

Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria

Tim McGuire writes:

I’m attaching a photo of my grandfather, Arthur Defenbaugh from Streator, who was a conductor on the Streator to Ottawa branch, with his engineer, standing in front of their trolley. I don’t know when or where the picture was taken. We think it was Streator. I believe it was in the late 20’s as this is a metal trolley car. The trolley car number appears to be 18. I read on your website that you don’t have many operational era photos for the CO&P. I thought you would enjoy it.

If you have information about my grandfather or the other gentleman, please let me know.

 

Arthur Ingram Defenbaugh was born on October 6, 1881, and died in July 1972, aged 90. It appears he spent most of his working life as a farmer. His wife died in 1926 and it does not appear he ever remarried.

If any of our readers have additional information, please let us know, thanks.


Toronto Peter Witt Car 2766

Dave Barrett recently did some volunteer work on Toronto’s sole remaining Peter Witt streetcar (whiich is now 93 years old) at Hillcrest shops, to get the car ready for the annual Beaches Easter parade. He has generously shared his photos of car 2766 with us:

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Mar.24-16 -d

Mar.24-16 -e

Mar.24-16 -f

Mar.24-16 -g


CTA Kenwood, Stock Yards and Normal Park Shuttles

M. E. writes:

In this note I want to comment about photos of Indiana Ave. and Harvard Ave. in Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Three (March 23, 2016).

You show the South Side L Indiana Ave. station in two pictures. I saw Andre Kristopans’ comment at the bottom, and I learned something from his comment: I had no idea the middle track west of the station was used for storing spare Stock Yards L cars. But I am sure Andre is correct.

The first photo shows a bigger scope. Let me start with the platform at the right.

Notice that the section of wood nearest the track looks newer than the wood under the cover. This is because the newer wood was constructed over the third track that went through the station. Yes, there were three tracks on the north / south main. The three tracks actually continued east of the station, then south on the north / south main to just north of the 43rd St. station, where the easternmost track merged into the middle track.

Also, prior to (I think) 1949, the Kenwood L did not end at Indiana Ave. Instead, it went downtown onto the Loop. I’m not sure where it went from the Loop — some sources say to Ravenswood, others say to Wilson. My own experience is that the Englewood ran to Ravenswood, and the Jackson Park ran to Howard, through the State St. subway. And I think the Kenwood ran to Wilson. There were several smaller stations north of Indiana that were serviced by the Kenwood L. The Englewood and Jackson Park were supposed to be express through that area but were frequently delayed by being behind Kenwood trains.

Back at the Indiana station, both the Kenwood trains and the Englewood / Jackson Park trains used the two outer tracks of the three-track main. South/east-bound Kenwood trains crossed over from the southernmost main track to the Kenwood L structure to head east.

Later, when the Kenwood was cut back to shuttle service from Indiana to 42nd Place, the wood was added to cover most of the north/westernmost outer main track, leaving (at the east end of the platform) the terminal for the Kenwood shuttle. As I recall, that space could accommodate two cars. When Kenwood cars needed service, they turned south onto the easternmost main track, merged into the northbound main near 43rd St., switched over to the southbound main, and made their way to the Jackson Park yards at 61st St. and lower 63rd St.

So the photo shows two main tracks through the station, which had been the middle and south/westernmost tracks of the three-track setup.

Regarding the platform at the left, you see that the Stock Yards L terminated on the south side of that platform. Its only connection to the rest of the L system was the set of switches west of the Indiana station.

The Indiana station had an overhead bridge connecting the two platforms, thus enabling north/west-bound customers to access the Stock Yards L, and south/east-bound customers to access the Kenwood shuttle.

Now, on to the picture showing the Normal Park L shuttle. I think it was in 1949 that the CTA relegated the Normal Park line to shuttle service. Before that, the Normal Park cars were hitched onto the rear of Englewood trains. So people riding the Englewood L southbound had to be alert that the last car would be split off and go to 69th and Normal. If someone was in the wrong car, he/she could move between cars, which is apparently taboo today.

The structures along the sides of the L track are where the connections were made and unmade. Workers were stationed there to do this. Yes, even in frigid weather. And with live third rails. OSHA would have had a fit. The motormen of northbound Normal Park trains rode the trains into the Harvard station, then down and under to the southbound platform, then onto the last car of incoming southbound trains.

You also see in the distance the switch tower where the Normal Park line branched off to the south.

When the Normal Park line became shuttle service, northbound trains went into the Harvard station. The motorman quickly changed ends, then immediately (so as not to delay northbound Englewood trains) proceeded to the switch over to the south/west-bound track. You can see this switch next to the bigger structure.

In the photo, I have no idea why the motorman of the Normal Park car is standing in the walkway between the tracks. Perhaps this picture was deliberately posed.

This photo was taken from the southwest end of the south/west-bound L platform at Harvard. The address on the food shop below is 6316 S. Harvard. Busy 63rd St. was just to the right, and a block south at 64th St. and Harvard Ave. was St. Bernard’s Hospital, which I believe is still there. Two blocks east of the Harvard L station was Englewood Union Station (New York Central, Nickel Plate, Pennsylvania, Rock Island), and three blocks west was the other Englewood train station (Erie, Monon, Wabash, Chicago and Eastern Illinois, Chicago and Western Indiana). Plus, there were several streetcar lines. All told, for a fan of anything on rails, it was nirvana.

 


Chicago or Copenhagen?

copenhagen1

I recently wrote to the Chicagotransit Yahoo discussion group about the above photo:

There’s a photo negative on eBay that is identified as showing a couple streetcars at the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair. Yet I don’t recognize where this could have been taken there.

I know that Chicago Surface Lines had a couple of line extensions built to bring people to the fair, but was not aware of any trolleys on the grounds themselves.

Is the photo misidentified, and if so, what does it actually show? To me, it looks like it could have been taken in Europe.

Dennis McClendon wrote:

The famous Copenhagen church (Grundtvigskirke) just behind the trams might be a good clue.

 

Pardon my stupidity, but I assume you mean the famous Copenhagen church in Copenhagen, and not one that was moved, brick by brick, to the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair?

I wonder what it was about this picture that made the seller guess that it was taken in Chicago. For transit on the fair grounds themselves, I am pretty sure they used buses of a type similar to those used at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair.

Dennis McClendon replied:

The Century of Progress grounds stretched for three miles along the lakefront, from Roosevelt to 39th. Greyhound got the concession for motorized transport within the fairgrounds, driving these open-air trailer conveyances along a portion of Leif Eriksen Drive that later was part of South Lake Shore Drive.

Within the exhibits area, where motorized vehicles weren’t allowed, you could ride in a pushchair, providing summer employment to dozens of high school and college students.

 

Cent of Progress buses

Similar buses (actually, they look more like trucks) were also used at the 1939-40 NY World’s Fair. As it tuns out, they were not the same vehicles. This is explained in an article from Hemmings Motor News.

Apparently, the Chicago buses used at the fair were one-offs made by General Motors.

There were at least two types of buses used at the New York World’s Fair, a “tractor train” and a more streamlined bus. Neither looks much like the ones used in Chicago. The streamlined buses were made by Yellow Coach.

ny1939a

ny1939b

ny1939c

nyworldsfairbus

After the fair ended in 1940, some of the streamlined buses were used to transport WAACs.

After the fair ended in 1940, some of the streamlined buses were used to transport WAACs.

The question has been raised as to whether or not the Chicago buses were then sold to Bowen Motor Coach for use at the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936. You can see pictures of the Texas buses below, and there is also a quick view of them in a video clip here.

At this point, it’s not clear whether they were the same buses that were used in Chicago with a bit of new sheet metal attached, or simply similar buses built later by General Motors.

1933bus2

A Greyhound Bus' tram drives in front of Chrysler motors Building at the Chicago World's Fair. (Photographer Unknown/www.bcpix.com)

A Greyhound Bus’ tram drives in front of Chrysler motors Building at the Chicago World’s Fair. (Photographer Unknown/www.bcpix.com)

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1933bus5

1933bus1

Buses purported to be those from the 1933-34 World's Fair, shown in Texas in 1939, where they were owned by the Bowen Bus Company.

Buses purported to be those from the 1933-34 World’s Fair, shown in Texas in 1939, where they were owned by the Bowen Bus Company.

A Bowen bus at the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936. (J. Elmore Hudson Photo)

A Bowen bus at the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936. (J. Elmore Hudson Photo)

The west facade of Grundtvigskirken today. Photo by Hans Andersen - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=266140

The west facade of Grundtvigskirken today. Photo by Hans AndersenOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=266140


FYI, we have added another Liberty Bell Limited photo to our recent post Alphabet Soup (March 15, 2016):

LVT 1006 heads from Norristown to Philadelphia over the P&W in June 1949.

LVT 1006 heads from Norristown to Philadelphia over the P&W in June 1949.


“Keeping Pace” – A Rare Chicago Surface Lines Recording

csl04

We have a unique opportunity to buy a 16″ transcription disc made by the Chicago Surface Lines‘ public relations department in 1939. Chances are, this is a 30-minute radio program promoting CSL, most likely played a few times on local radio stations, and has been unheard since then. The script was written by Hollis Farley Peck (1909-1971).

For all we know, this recording may include the sounds of Chicago streetcars, which would be very rare.

It will not be easy to play this record due to the large (16″) size. Although this is a 33 1/3 rpm record, it used the same technology as the 78 rpm records of its time. The current LP system of vinyl records did not come about until 1948.

Such large recordings were necessary to provide a longer running time than a standard 78 rpm record, which could only last about 3:20. I assume that each side of this transcription disc has 15 minutes on it.

Once I have the record, I plan to consult with the Museum of Broadcast Communications here in Chicago. Possibly they may have the necessary equipment for playing it. If a successful recording can be made, we will digitally remaster it and issue it on a compact disc.

If MBC can help us, we may donate the original disc to the museum for their collection. After all, this is local history.

However, before we can do that, we first have to complete the purchase. If you can help contribute to the $60 cost of this rare recording, your donation will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

-David Sadowski


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 possible and are greatly appreciated.

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Specialized equipment is required to play a 16" transcription disc. This is one such turntable made by Esoteric Sound.

Specialized equipment is required to play a 16″ transcription disc. This is one such turntable made by Esoteric Sound.

A 1936 phonograph for playing transcription discs. This one played records from the inside out, with a maximum running time of one hour per side.

A 1936 phonograph for playing transcription discs. This one played records from the inside out, with a maximum running time of one hour per side.


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 130th 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 141,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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

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

We thank you for your support.


Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Three

CTA articulated "Doodlebug" 5003 southbound at Main Street in Evanston. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)

CTA articulated “Doodlebug” 5003 southbound at Main Street in Evanston. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)

An aerial view, showing where the picture of 5003 was taken near Main and Chicago. There is a gap between the CTA Evanston branch and the Metra UP-North Line (formerly, the Chicago & North Western), large enough for a short paved road, now mainly used for parking.

An aerial view, showing where the picture of 5003 was taken near Main and Chicago. There is a gap between the CTA Evanston branch and the Metra UP-North Line (formerly, the Chicago & North Western), large enough for a short paved road, now mainly used for parking.

Today, we have another batch of classic Chicago rapid transit photos to share with you. These are not easy to come by, and as far as I can tell, this is only the third time we have devoted an entire post to them.

The two previous articles were Chicago Rapid Transit Mystery Photos – Solved (April 28, 2015) and More Chicago Rapid Transit Photos (September 21, 2015), although of course we have sprinkled plenty of other rapid transit photos into other postings.

We have some great pictures of the experimental articulated “Doodlebugs” ordered by the Chicago Rapid Transit Company, which were delivered in 1947-48. These were the first new Chicago rapid transit cars in nearly 25 years, and were inspired by the similar “Bluebird” compartment cars purchased by New York’s Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit in 1939-40.*

Chicago’s Loop “L” is famous world-wide. What is perhaps less known is how a few other cities had short stretches of elevateds, and we have included a couple pictures of those as well. In addition to Baltimore and Boston, shown here, there were also “els” of some sort in Kansas City and Hoboken, New Jersey. To this day, there is more elevated trackage in New York than in Chicago.

Some of today’s pictures were taken at much the same times and places as pictures in those two earlier posts. Sometimes we have been able to identify the times and places when these pictures could have been taken, other times not. As always, if you can help provide any information that might shed light on what’s going on here, we would definitely appreciate it.

You can either leave a comment on this post, or contact us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Thanks.

-David Sadowski

PS- These images are being added to our E-book The New Look in Chicago Transit: 1938-1973, available through our Online Store.


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 129th 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 139,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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

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

We thank you for your support.


*Here are some films of the Bluebirds in action circa 1954, shortly before they were retired:

CTA 5001 at Laramie on September 27, 1948. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)

CTA 5001 at Laramie on September 27, 1948. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)

CTA 5003 on the Met "L" near Throop Street Shops in 1948. (St. Louis Car Company Photo)

CTA 5003 on the Met “L” near Throop Street Shops in 1948. (St. Louis Car Company Photo)

Brand-new CTA 5003 on C&NW flatcars in 1948. (St. Louis Car Company Photo)

Brand-new CTA 5003 on C&NW flatcars in 1948. (St. Louis Car Company Photo)

CTA "L" car 3115 at West Shops in April 1949. This was one of the few places where CTA rapid transit cars and streetcars could operate on the same tracks, the other being at 63rd Street Lower Yard. The location is approximately 3900 W. Lake Street. There was a ramp, a rather steep grade in fact, connecting with the Lake Street "L", which lasted until 1987. Can that be a streetcar at right?

CTA “L” car 3115 at West Shops in April 1949. This was one of the few places where CTA rapid transit cars and streetcars could operate on the same tracks, the other being at 63rd Street Lower Yard. The location is approximately 3900 W. Lake Street. There was a ramp, a rather steep grade in fact, connecting with the Lake Street “L”, which lasted until 1987. Can that be a streetcar at right?

The approximate location of the previous picture. Since that photo was taken, CTA has built a substation here for the Lake Street "L".

The approximate location of the previous picture. Since that photo was taken, CTA has built a substation here for the Lake Street “L”.

Streetcar tracks are still visible today at CTA's West Shops, which was built by the West Chicago Street Railroad, which became part of Chicago Surface Lines in 1914. CTA used West Shops for rapid transit car work for a few years into the early 1950s, before such work was consolidated elsewhere. The tracks crossing Lake Street itself were only removed a couple years ago.

Streetcar tracks are still visible today at CTA’s West Shops, which was built by the West Chicago Street Railroad, which became part of Chicago Surface Lines in 1914. CTA used West Shops for rapid transit car work for a few years into the early 1950s, before such work was consolidated elsewhere. The tracks crossing Lake Street itself were only removed a couple years ago.

The first train of new 6000s on display at the North Water Street terminal on August 17, 1950. This terminal provided a convenient place to display a train without interfering with regular service.

The first train of new 6000s on display at the North Water Street terminal on August 17, 1950. This terminal provided a convenient place to display a train without interfering with regular service.

A rare CTA three-car train of singe car units on the Ravenswood (Brown Line) "L" on May 28, 1978. In general, three-car trains resulted from one of the cars in a four-car train being taken out of service. This picture was taken at Chicago Avenue. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo) It's been pointed out to me that this picture was taken on a Sunday, during a time when the Ravenswood did not run on Sundays. So, this was a fantrip train that would have had the run of the Ravenswood south of Belmont. This picture looks like it was taken at track level. Now the Brown Line runs downtown seven days a week. Gordon Earl Lloyd (1924-2006) was a well-known railfan author and photographer.

A rare CTA three-car train of singe car units on the Ravenswood (Brown Line) “L” on May 28, 1978. In general, three-car trains resulted from one of the cars in a four-car train being taken out of service. This picture was taken at Chicago Avenue. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo) It’s been pointed out to me that this picture was taken on a Sunday, during a time when the Ravenswood did not run on Sundays. So, this was a fantrip train that would have had the run of the Ravenswood south of Belmont. This picture looks like it was taken at track level. Now the Brown Line runs downtown seven days a week. Gordon Earl Lloyd (1924-2006) was a well-known railfan author and photographer.

The Guiford Avenue el in Baltimore, circa 1949. (Lester K. Wismer Photo)

The Guiford Avenue el in Baltimore, circa 1949. (Lester K. Wismer Photo)

A Boston Elevated Railway train of 0300-class cars , near Rowes Wharf station on the last day of the Atlantic Avenue el, September 28, 1938. (Robert Stanley Collection)

A Boston Elevated Railway train of 0300-class cars , near Rowes Wharf station on the last day of the Atlantic Avenue el, September 28, 1938. (Robert Stanley Collection)

The mount on this Kodachrome slide helps narrow down the time frame on this photo to 1955-57. We are at the Indiana Avenue station on the South Side "L", looking west. We posted a picture showing the view looking east at this station in a previous post. That picture shows a Kenwood shuttle train, but the wood cars in the distance here are very likely Stock Yards cars. Wooden "L" cars would not have been running on the Howard-Jackson Park-Englewood line, as that went through the State Street subway. According to Graham Garfield's excellent web site, Stock Yards shuttle cars would have stopped at the south platform (to the left in this picture) via a single track. Presumably, the two-car wood train in this picture is heading west, and the mainline train of 6000s is heading east. Running parallel to the "L" at this point, just to the north, is the Chicago Junction Railway, which built and owned the Kenwood branch of the "L." This part of the CJ was abandoned in the 1960s after the Union Stock Yards had dwindled down to next to nothing.

The mount on this Kodachrome slide helps narrow down the time frame on this photo to 1955-57. We are at the Indiana Avenue station on the South Side “L”, looking west. We posted a picture showing the view looking east at this station in a previous post. That picture shows a Kenwood shuttle train, but the wood cars in the distance here are very likely Stock Yards cars. Wooden “L” cars would not have been running on the Howard-Jackson Park-Englewood line, as that went through the State Street subway. According to Graham Garfield’s excellent web site, Stock Yards shuttle cars would have stopped at the south platform (to the left in this picture) via a single track. Presumably, the two-car wood train in this picture is heading west, and the mainline train of 6000s is heading east. Running parallel to the “L” at this point, just to the north, is the Chicago Junction Railway, which built and owned the Kenwood branch of the “L.” This part of the CJ was abandoned in the 1960s after the Union Stock Yards had dwindled down to next to nothing.

A close-up view of the previous scene.

A close-up view of the previous scene.

An early 1940s map of the Stock Yards branch of the "L". Indiana station is just to the right of the green line. You can see how the Chicago Junction ran parallel to the "L" just to the north. The Stock Yards branch was abandoned in 1957, shortly before Kenwood.

An early 1940s map of the Stock Yards branch of the “L”. Indiana station is just to the right of the green line. You can see how the Chicago Junction ran parallel to the “L” just to the north. The Stock Yards branch was abandoned in 1957, shortly before Kenwood.

An early 1940s map of the Kenwood branch of the "L", which was abandoned in 1957.

An early 1940s map of the Kenwood branch of the “L”, which was abandoned in 1957.

CTA 4357 at South Boulevard and Maple in October 1952, at the west end of the Lake Street "L" when it ran on the ground.

CTA 4357 at South Boulevard and Maple in October 1952, at the west end of the Lake Street “L” when it ran on the ground.

South Boulevard and Maple in Oak Park today. The Lake Street "L", today's Green Lin, was relocated to the Chicago & North Western embankment in 1962. That's the Harlem station at left, which has its main entrance at Marion Street.

South Boulevard and Maple in Oak Park today. The Lake Street “L”, today’s Green Lin, was relocated to the Chicago & North Western embankment in 1962. That’s the Harlem station at left, which has its main entrance at Marion Street.

There was only a brief period when this May 1969 photo could have been taken. What we see is the west end of the Englewood "L" yard near Loomis. The yard itself was renovated in the early 1960s, as evidenced by the concrete supports. We are standing on a newly built section of "L", soon to be connected to the rest of the structure, that extended this line to Ashland, a more practical terminus that provides a better place for bus transfers. We are looking east.

There was only a brief period when this May 1969 photo could have been taken. What we see is the west end of the Englewood “L” yard near Loomis. The yard itself was renovated in the early 1960s, as evidenced by the concrete supports. We are standing on a newly built section of “L”, soon to be connected to the rest of the structure, that extended this line to Ashland, a more practical terminus that provides a better place for bus transfers. We are looking east.

CTA Met car 2888 heads up a Garfield Park train on the Loop "L" circa 1950.

CTA Met car 2888 heads up a Garfield Park train on the Loop “L” circa 1950.

A Douglas Park local at the west end of the line at Oak Park Avenue in Berwyn, circa 1950. This is before A/B "skip stop" service began on this route, which was soon cut back to 54th Avenue, its present terminus.

A Douglas Park local at the west end of the line at Oak Park Avenue in Berwyn, circa 1950. This is before A/B “skip stop” service began on this route, which was soon cut back to 54th Avenue, its present terminus.

A CTA single car unit running under wire at the Linden terminal in Wilmette in 1964. We are looking south. The Evanston branch was changed over to third rail along with the retirement of 4000-series "L" cars in 1973.

A CTA single car unit running under wire at the Linden terminal in Wilmette in 1964. We are looking south. The Evanston branch was changed over to third rail along with the retirement of 4000-series “L” cars in 1973.

A woman on CTA "baldy" car 4031 notices her picture is being taken at an unidentified location. As you can see, these 1913 "L" cars featured sideways seating.

A woman on CTA “baldy” car 4031 notices her picture is being taken at an unidentified location. As you can see, these 1913 “L” cars featured sideways seating.

We previously ran a very similar picture in an earlier post. In fact, it seems likely both pictures were taken at much the same time, although they are not identical. In any case, the previous caption information will do just as well here: According to Andre Kristopans, it shows a “Normal Park shuttle between Harvard Englewood and Stewart Jct – appears inbound.” Edward Maurath notes that car “223 was made by Jewett in 1902 for the South Side Line, then known as the ”alley L’.”

We previously ran a very similar picture in an earlier post. In fact, it seems likely both pictures were taken at much the same time, although they are not identical. In any case, the previous caption information will do just as well here: According to Andre Kristopans, it shows a “Normal Park shuttle between Harvard Englewood and Stewart Jct – appears inbound.” Edward Maurath notes that car “223 was made by Jewett in 1902 for the South Side Line, then known as the ”alley L’.”

A Douglas Park "L" train, signed to go to Lawndale, at Randolph and Wabash. CTA had a small storage yard at Kenton, which was abandoned in the early 1950s.

A Douglas Park “L” train, signed to go to Lawndale, at Randolph and Wabash. CTA had a small storage yard at Kenton, which was abandoned in the early 1950s.

The same location as the last picture, and another Douglas Park train going to Lanwdale only, but this is a different car (2821) and run number (316 vs. 315). Interesting that consecutive runs would only be going that far. There must not have been much demand for outbound service when this picture was taken.

The same location as the last picture, and another Douglas Park train going to Lanwdale only, but this is a different car (2821) and run number (316 vs. 315). Interesting that consecutive runs would only be going that far. There must not have been much demand for outbound service when this picture was taken.

This is the old Clark and Lake "L" station and we are looking east. An outbound Ravenswood "A" train is stopped at the station. The signs at right are advertising a stage version of Mister Roberts at the Erlanger Theatre. A/B "skip stop" service was instituted on the Ravenswood on August 1, 1949, which is probably around the time this picture was taken. Prior to this, most Ravenswood service was operated by 4000s running via the subway. By Spring of 1951, base service on the Rave was being operated by new 6000s.

This is the old Clark and Lake “L” station and we are looking east. An outbound Ravenswood “A” train is stopped at the station. The signs at right are advertising a stage version of Mister Roberts at the Erlanger Theatre. A/B “skip stop” service was instituted on the Ravenswood on August 1, 1949, which is probably around the time this picture was taken. Prior to this, most Ravenswood service was operated by 4000s running via the subway. By Spring of 1951, base service on the Rave was being operated by new 6000s.

Where this picture could have been taken was somewhat of a mystery, but the one place that seems a good fit is the old Lawndale terminal on the Humboldt Park "L". There, only one track served the platform, while there were two tracks for storage. Gate cars such as these were used during the CTA era, and the "L" itself was shoehorned between buildings such as the one at left. There was a tower at the end of the platform, such as the one seen here. In that scenario, the "M" may simply stand for Metropolitan, as Humboldt Park was part of the Met "L".

Where this picture could have been taken was somewhat of a mystery, but the one place that seems a good fit is the old Lawndale terminal on the Humboldt Park “L”. There, only one track served the platform, while there were two tracks for storage. Gate cars such as these were used during the CTA era, and the “L” itself was shoehorned between buildings such as the one at left. There was a tower at the end of the platform, such as the one seen here. In that scenario, the “M” may simply stand for Metropolitan, as Humboldt Park was part of the Met “L”.

For the sake of comparison, Graham Garfield’s excellent web site shows a picture taken at Lawndale, but looking in the opposite direction (east):

The building shown in the last picture, as it looks today on Lawndale just north of North Avenue. The buildings to the west of here have been torn down (there is a car wash on that site today), but note the similarity in construction to the building shown in our mystery photo.

The building shown in the last picture, as it looks today on Lawndale just north of North Avenue. The buildings to the west of here have been torn down (there is a car wash on that site today), but note the similarity in construction to the building shown in our mystery photo.

Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 10-4-2015, Etc.

Updates

We are pleased to present a previously unknown two-color version of a 1936 Chicago Surface Lines brochure about the new streamlined PCC streetcars. This material has been added to our E-book Chicago’ PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available from our Online Store.

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Milwaukee Electric Railway (The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Transport Co.) car 1137, westbound on the Rapid Transit Line, 68th Street Bridge, July 22, 1949.

Milwaukee Electric Railway (The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Transport Co.) car 1137, westbound on the Rapid Transit Line, 68th Street Bridge, July 22, 1949.

Photo Updates

FYI, we now have an improved version of the TMER&T photo reproduced above, since we have been fortunate enough to acquire the original 1949 4″ x 5″ negative. This has been added to our recent post Traction In Milwaukee.

Three more photos have been added to our post West Towns Streetcars In Black-and-White. One of them shows a West Towns streetcar making the connection with its Chicago Surface Lines counterpart at Lake and Austin.

Reader Mail

The following question was posted to the Chicagotransit Yahoo Group by robyer2000:

I was looking at the letters in The Trolley Dodger about the construction of the reversing loop in the Howard Yard in 1949. The letter from the man at CTA public affairs indicated that before skip stop service trains that terminated at Howard were usually yard put-ins. That seems unlikely, at least since the opening of the State Street Subway in 1943, after which most Jackson Park trains terminated at Howard, other than during owl hours.

My question is this: before they built the reversing loop, just how did they reverse trains at Howard that weren’t put-ins?‎ In rush hours, they were 8 car trains. Where did they switch ends?

I replied:

You must be referring to our recent post Railfan Ephemera.

There is some circa 1975 correspondence between Tom Buck, then Manager of the CTA’s Public Affairs department, and an individual who had asked about a 1949 photo showing the construction of a turnaround loop in the Howard Yard.

The photo is reproduced, along with a brochure detailing the changes brought about by the adoption of A/B “skip-stop” service on the North-South L in 1949.

Previously, there were many trains that terminated at other places such as Wilson.

As Graham Garfield’s web site notes:

North Side “L” service used to be more commonly through-routed into Evanston, with Evanston trains running through to Jackson Park on what’s now the Green Line, from 1913 to 1949. In 1949, the CTA instituted a North-South service revision, at which time the suburban portion was divorced into its own line, running as a shuttle to meet the new North-South trunk line at Howard. Thus was the modern Evanston Route, with the shuttle service at all times and downtown rush hour express service, born.

Starting in 1949, there were a lot more trains terminating at Howard, both from the north and the south.  Meanwhile, North Shore Line trains continued to pass through via the Skokie Valley and Shore Line Routes.

Around this time, CTA proposed turning over the Evanston/Wilmette service to the North Shore Line, in exchange for having all NSL service terminate at Howard.  As CNS&M already wanted to abandon the Shore Line Route, this proposal went nowhere.

Robyer2000 wrote:

I don’t ever like to doubt Graham, but at least after the State Street Subway opened in 1943, few, if any, day time subway trains went past Howard and‎ fewer still terminated at Wilson unless they were putting in there. Consider there were only 455 steel cars that could operate in the subway and alternate daytime trains ran to Kimball, and assume 10 pct. of the cars were needed for spares, 410 steel cars were available for schedules of which 205 would have been in Howard service.   That would be enough for 25 Howard – Jackson Park trains. If the route took 125 minutes round trip with lay over (remember in one direction it had to make all stops from Indiana to Congress), that would have been a steel train to Howard every 5 minutes, or a total of only 24 trains an hour through the subway. Even if I am wrong with my assumptions or my arithmetic, how wrong can I be?

I have seen many pictures of Howard Street Express Via Subway t:rains over the years, but never one signed Evanston Express via Subway, although I know it was an available route on the sign curtain because I have one.

Additionally, that red brochure the CTA issued on the opening of the subway indicated Jackson Park trains would terminate at Howard, except after midnight.

I know too that after 1943 there were Evanston Express via “L” Loop trains that circled the Loop at least many of which ran express south of Loyola and which presumably had wooden consists.

So the question remains, what was the operation for reversing trains at Howard before the reversing loop was built?

I know that what became the loop track at Howard Yard terminated in a bumping post at the landfill to Evanston before the loop was built by tunneling across the landfill. If they used that track to reverse ends, the trains must have had to go through the yard switches to that track, reverse ends and then return through the yard switches.

I replied:

Hopefully, someone here will know the answer.

If they did in fact use the yard track to change ends, they either would have needed personnel at both ends of the train, ready to reverse course, or the motorman would have had to walk through the train to do so, making it more difficult to maintain tight schedules.

The City realized that operating the subway with the 455 steel cars (there was actually a 456th but it was an older, experimental one, not part of the 4000s fleet) was not the optimal situation, but it was enough to get service going in the State Street subway in 1943.

Of course, they still had the “L” route to the Loop, so there were many additional wood car trains going that way besides.

M. E. answered:

I’m averse to posting in threads, but I want to chime in about the L turnaround at Howard St.

I grew up on Green St. south of 63rd. Between our residence and the L, the city tore down all the houses to make a parking lot for businesses on 63rd St. So I had a bird’s-eye view of the L.

Plus I rode the L a lot, by myself, when I was young. These days that’s a no-no, but back then it was safe.

The timing for all this was the late 1940s, after the State St. subway opened. I don’t remember seeing wooden cars on the Englewood L.

I rode the Englewood/Ravenswood L a lot, all the way to Lawrence and Kimball and back. I don’t think I ever changed to the Jackson Park L to go north past Belmont.

As an aside, I also remember wooden cars on the Kenwood L sharing the track with south side steel cars between Indiana and 18th St.

I distinctly remember that the Jackson Park L went north only to Howard. Not into Evanston.

Also, I remember being surprised one day by seeing that the CTA built a loop north of Howard to reverse direction. I don’t exactly remember when that was, just that I was surprised by it.

Given that the Jackson Park L terminated at Howard, and there was no reversing loop yet, there are several possibilities:

(1) The Rapid Transit system put two crewmen on every Jackson Park train — one at the south end, the other at the north end. This would have made it simple to reverse at Howard (as well as at 63rd and Stony Island). But very expensive to operate. This would also have had to be true of any other stub-ending L line with long trains.

(2) At Howard, trains pulled in from the south, changed crew at the station, and took off again heading south, all within a very short time. This seems not too feasible because it would probably delay Evanston and CNS&M trains from using the station.

(3) Suppose the trains proceeded north of Howard into the yard. Perhaps a new crew boarded the south end of the northbound train (which I want to call Train 1) at the Howard station. Then Train 1 pulled straight into the yard. The new crew at the south end took over and brought Train 1 back into Howard station heading south. Then at Howard the northbound crew got off.

(4) Train 1 arrived from the south at Howard. Its crew got off, and walked to the south end of the platform. Two other crews, assigned only to work at Howard, boarded Train 1 — one crew at the north end of the train, the other crew at the south end. These two crews took the train into the yard, reversed direction, and brought Train 1 south to the Howard station. There, the “road” crew, which had previously walked to the south end of the platform, re-boarded Train 1 and took it south from Howard. After that, the two Howard-only crews repeated to handle subsequently arriving trains from the south.

The more I look at these possibilities, I like #4 the best.

When I use the term “crew”, I mean motorman. That’s because on L trains back then, there were conductors between every car. Yes, really. Apparently there was no central control for opening and closing doors, so one conductor could control only his car’s doors. Also, every conductor from rear to front had to ring a bell twice to indicate all was clear to proceed. Those bells rang in each car, one at a time, from rear to front.

Furthermore, to my recollection, the longest trains through the subway had six cars. Not eight. For six cars there were five conductors. Another reason I say six cars is that station platforms were lengthened to accommodate eight cars. Those longer sections were narrower (not as deep) as the original platforms. In fact, the northmost track at the 63rd and Loomis terminal was extended over Loomis to accommodate eight-car trains. By that time there were no more double-deck buses on Loomis to preclude extending the L structure over the street.

Also, there were no married pairs of steel cars at that time. I remember seeing one-car trains on Sunday mornings. Consider also the Normal Park branch. Before it became a shuttle from 69th to Harvard, the Normal Park car coupled onto the back of an Englewood train. West of Harvard, people on the tracks coupled or uncoupled the Normal Park car, which had its own motorman and conductor. With a maximum of six cars, this means an Englewood train west of Harvard would have had only five cars max, so that the Normal Park car became the sixth car.

I have seen pictures of two-car Normal Park trains, but I never saw that personally.

I concede it’s possible that there were six cars on Englewood trains, plus one Normal Park car, total seven cars. I’m just not sure.

Everything I say here is based on 65-year-old memories. I may have some facts wrong, but I simply don’t know.

Then, robyer2000 wrote:

Thank you for your post. It is fascinating to me to hear your memories.

They in fact used 8 car trains, but due to the door control issues you mentioned, the furthest front and back doors were not used so an 8 car train could berth at a platform which would be a 6 car platform today.

I believe that trains of all 4000 series car only needed what they called a “gateman” every other car because the far doors of a car could be separately controlled at the opposite end of the car. One of the gateman was the conductor, I’m not sure where he stood in a long train. Logically, he would have been at the rear as he had to ascertain the train was properly berthed before opening the doors, but he may have been near the middle if at that time they already had lines drawn on the platform edge to assist the conductor.

Train door control wasn’t instituted until 1952-1954.

Your alternative 2 doesn’t sound possible because of the necessity of moving the train to the Southbound platform at Howard.

And then, M. E. wrote:

Some things I thought of after sending my last note:

Exit doors on 4000-series steel cars were at the ends of the cars. So at any coupled cars, there were exit doors at the rear of the first car and exit doors at the front of the second car. The conductor assigned to that location stood outside, over the coupling, and operated controls for the exit doors immediately to either side of him. The conductor could see the unloading and loading activity at each of the two exit doors, so he knew when all that activity was finished. He then rang the bell twice to indicate that his station was clear. As anyone can imagine, during winter the conductor had a very cold job.

The rearmost conductor was the first to ring the bells twice, then the second rearmost conductor, and so on to the frontmost conductor, who was stationed between cars one and two.

Because there was no conductor at the rear of the train, nor one at the front, passengers could not use the exit doors at the very rear and the very front. At the front, the motorman’s cabin occupied the right-side exit door area. And the motorman did not operate the left-side front exit door.

There was no public address system on those cars. Each conductor had to enter each of the two cars at his station to announce the next stop.

At that time it was permissible to walk between cars. Every car had doors at the ends of the cars that passengers could open to change cars. For safety, over the coupling area there were extended metal plates to walk on, and there were chains at each side of the walkway. (In effect, cars were connected not only with couplers but with chains too.) There were three chains vertically on each side of the walkway, from about knee height up to below chest height.

Unlike in the 6000-series cars, there was no railfan seat at the front opposite the motorman. As I recall, in 4000-series cars the seats closest to the exit doors were side-facing, and there was a solid partition between the seats and the exit door area. The only way to watch the track ahead was to stand at the front, next to the motorman’s cabin, and look through the glass in the end-facing door. Yes, there was a front-facing window in the exit door area, but that window was blocked by the route sign on the front of the train. The sign itself was wooden and was hung onto grillwork that spanned the window.

Earlier I mentioned another cold winter job: Coupling and uncoupling Normal Park cars to the rear of Englewood trains. Not only was it cold, it was also dangerous, because it was close to third rails. I cannot imagine the Environmental Protection Agency ever permitting such work today.

What became of the Normal Park car’s motorman and conductor? After a northbound run from 69th to the Englewood line west of Harvard, the Normal Park motorman likely detrained at Harvard, walked downstairs, across to the other side, and up to the south platform. Then he waited for the next southbound Englewood train, boarded it, and took his position in the last car, the one destined for Normal Park. Meanwhile, the northbound Normal Park conductor would have to stay with the Englewood train to be assigned to the newly coupled cars. In the southbound direction, the conductor assigned between the rearmost two cars on Englewood trains would therefore go to Normal Park after the uncoupling.

CSL Work Car Info

Following up on our earlier series about Chicago Surface Lines Work Cars (Part One here, Part Two there), Andre Kristopans writes:

I am sending you eight scans for your viewing (and distributing) pleasure. Four hand-written ones were copied from Jim Buckley’s notes in Roy Benedict’s possession by me years ago. The two lists of trailers were made from CTA records.You notice it goes b