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North Shore Line cars 155, 190, and 154 are stopped by the historic Kenilworth fountain on July 24, 1955. The occasion was a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip just prior to the abandonment of the Shore Line Route. A similar picture, taken by Ray DeGroote, is in my book The North Shore Line.

North Shore Line cars 155, 190, and 154 are stopped by the historic Kenilworth fountain on July 24, 1955. The occasion was a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip just prior to the abandonment of the Shore Line Route. A similar picture, taken by Ray DeGroote, is in my book The North Shore Line.

While this is our first new post in nearly three months, we have been hard at work this entire time. Since January 21st we took delivery on our new book The North Shore Line (see below), and shipped out over 200 copies to our purchasers and contributors. The book has been very well received by our readers.

We also gave a presentation on March 8th at the Schaumburg Township Public Library for our 2021 book Chicago’s Lost “L”s.  This was a “hybrid” (in-person and on Zoom) program, but it was not recorded.

FYI, I will be giving a presentation on Monday, April 17th at the Libertyville Historical Society for my new book The North Shore Line. This is a “hybrid” program (both in person and on Zoom). More information here.

Three days later, on April 20th, I have another presentation scheduled (in Lake Forest) at the History Center Lake Forest-Lake Bluff. This one is in-person only. More information here.

Meanwhile, we have already begun doing research on our next book, which will be about the Chicago Aurora and Elgin interurban. This is a process that we expect will take the rest of this year. More than $2500 has been spent collecting materials for possible use.

Research does take both time and money, and the expenses are ongoing. If you support our efforts, we hope that you will consider making a donation. There are links to do just that in this post.  Any and all contributions are very much appreciated, and we are very thankful for all the help we get from our readers.  We can’t do it without you.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 1,117 members.

Our friend Kenneth Gear now has a Facebook group for the Railroad Record Club. If you enjoy listening to audio recordings of classic railroad trains, whether steam, electric, or diesel, you might consider joining.

FYI, the Hoosier Traction Facebook Group celebrates electric transit in Indiana and the Midwest. It also supports the activities of the annual Hoosier Traction Meet (although not affiliated with the North American Transit Historical Society, which organizes that event).

The Lake Street “L” in Transition

We recently scanned several original slides taken by the late William C. Hoffman, documenting the transition made by the Lake Street “L”. For more than 60 years, the line ran at ground level west of Laramie Avenue (5200 West). On October 28, 1962, it switched to a new alignment on the adjacent Chicago and North Western embankment, where it has remained for more than 60 years.

We previously ran some other pictures showing this transition in our post Elevation (December 5, 2022).

This September 1959 view looks west along South Boulevard in Oak Park, and shows the Marion Street station on the Lake Street "L", when it still ran at ground level west of Laramie Avenue. The "L" was relocated to the adjacent Chicago and North Western embankment in October 1962, and the buildings to the left are gone. The side street (Maple Avenue) shown in the picture has been truncated, and a large high-rise residential building occupies this space now.

This September 1959 view looks west along South Boulevard in Oak Park, and shows the Marion Street station on the Lake Street “L”, when it still ran at ground level west of Laramie Avenue. The “L” was relocated to the adjacent Chicago and North Western embankment in October 1962, and the buildings to the left are gone. The side street (Maple Avenue) shown in the picture has been truncated, and a large high-rise residential building occupies this space now.

The same location today.

The same location today.

William C. Hoffman took this picture from the back end of an "L" train on June 28, 1962 just west of the Laramie station. This offers a good view of the construction work underway at left, preparing the new embankment line which opened on October 28th. He referred to this as the "Laramie Avenue interchange."

William C. Hoffman took this picture from the back end of an “L” train on June 28, 1962 just west of the Laramie station. This offers a good view of the construction work underway at left, preparing the new embankment line which opened on October 28th. He referred to this as the “Laramie Avenue interchange.”

Here, we are looking east toward the Laramie Avenue station on the Lake Street "L" on June 28, 1962. According to photographer William C. Hoffman, the westbound track to the new embankment alignment was tied in on this date, and the first cars ran there.

Here, we are looking east toward the Laramie Avenue station on the Lake Street “L” on June 28, 1962. According to photographer William C. Hoffman, the westbound track to the new embankment alignment was tied in on this date, and the first cars ran there.

A CTA diesel crane and work gondola are on the new connecting track leading to the Chicago and North Western embankment on August 22, 1962. At this time, there was a connection between the "L" and the new alignment via the westbound track, but not the eastbound one. For a time, it was necessary to have connections leading to both the ground-level trackage as well as the embankment, until service was switched over on October 28th. I am not sure when the new connection was made with the eastbound track. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A CTA diesel crane and work gondola are on the new connecting track leading to the Chicago and North Western embankment on August 22, 1962. At this time, there was a connection between the “L” and the new alignment via the westbound track, but not the eastbound one. For a time, it was necessary to have connections leading to both the ground-level trackage as well as the embankment, until service was switched over on October 28th. I am not sure when the new connection was made with the eastbound track. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

This photo by the late William C. Hoffman was taken on October 28, 1962 at the Central Avenue station on the Lake Street "L", and shows how the transition was made from the ground level operation to the new alignment on the C&NW embankment. Unlike the situation in 1958, when the new Congress rapid transit line and the old Garfield Park "L" both ran on the same day, that was not possible here, due to the tight clearances at the station entrances. The new entrances could not be finished until the old line was torn out. So on October 28, 1962, which was a Sunday, the ceremonies dedicating the new 2.5 mile "L" realignment were held in the morning, and then, until 6 pm, trains only ran as far as Laramie Avenue, where the steel "L" structure ended. While workers put wooden platforms over the old tracks, riders west of Laramie had to take shuttle buses on Lake Street, as the signs here indicate. Passengers still had to enter via the old station entrances for a time.

This photo by the late William C. Hoffman was taken on October 28, 1962 at the Central Avenue station on the Lake Street “L”, and shows how the transition was made from the ground level operation to the new alignment on the C&NW embankment. Unlike the situation in 1958, when the new Congress rapid transit line and the old Garfield Park “L” both ran on the same day, that was not possible here, due to the tight clearances at the station entrances. The new entrances could not be finished until the old line was torn out. So on October 28, 1962, which was a Sunday, the ceremonies dedicating the new 2.5 mile “L” realignment were held in the morning, and then, until 6 pm, trains only ran as far as Laramie Avenue, where the steel “L” structure ended. While workers put wooden platforms over the old tracks, riders west of Laramie had to take shuttle buses on Lake Street, as the signs here indicate. Passengers still had to enter via the old station entrances for a time.

A 6-car eastbound Lake Street "L" test train is on the new embankment on October 28, 1962, shortly before the new service began at 6 pm. Although the photographer did not indicate which station this was, I believe it is Ridgeland Avenue in Oak Park. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A 6-car eastbound Lake Street “L” test train is on the new embankment on October 28, 1962, shortly before the new service began at 6 pm. Although the photographer did not indicate which station this was, I believe it is Ridgeland Avenue in Oak Park. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking east along the new Lake Street "L" embankment alignment at Marion Street on October 28, 1962, shortly before service began. A work train heads east. Photographer William C. Hoffman accessed this area via the Chicago and North Western Oak Park commuter train station, as the "L" station wasn't yet open until 6 pm.

The view looking east along the new Lake Street “L” embankment alignment at Marion Street on October 28, 1962, shortly before service began. A work train heads east. Photographer William C. Hoffman accessed this area via the Chicago and North Western Oak Park commuter train station, as the “L” station wasn’t yet open until 6 pm.

A 6-car train of CTA 4000-series "L" cars is heading eastbound near Ridgeland Avenue on the new embankment trackage on October 28, 1962, as the ground-level operation has finally been replaced. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A 6-car train of CTA 4000-series “L” cars is heading eastbound near Ridgeland Avenue on the new embankment trackage on October 28, 1962, as the ground-level operation has finally been replaced. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A westbound train of 4000s is on the new Lake Street "L" embankment alignment on November 11, 1962. A track welder's car is on the eastbound track. The photographer notes, "Bub Lindgren on "L" train." (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A westbound train of 4000s is on the new Lake Street “L” embankment alignment on November 11, 1962. A track welder’s car is on the eastbound track. The photographer notes, “Bub Lindgren on “L” train.” (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking east along the old ground-level Lake Street "L" right-of-way at Menard Avenue on November 11, 1962. An eastbound two-car "L" train is on the new alignment on the embankment. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking east along the old ground-level Lake Street “L” right-of-way at Menard Avenue on November 11, 1962. An eastbound two-car “L” train is on the new alignment on the embankment. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A 4000-series "L" train is stopped at the Harlem and Lake station on November 11, 1962. Note how there are some transparent portions of the station canopy, to let more light in. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A 4000-series “L” train is stopped at the Harlem and Lake station on November 11, 1962. Note how there are some transparent portions of the station canopy, to let more light in. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking west/northwest at Lake and Central on November 11, 1962. Riders still entered the station via a temporary connection to the old ground-level station. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking west/northwest at Lake and Central on November 11, 1962. Riders still entered the station via a temporary connection to the old ground-level station. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A westbound Lake Street "L" train has just left the Laramie Avenue station on November 11, 1962. This photo gives a good view of how the tracks were shifted over to connect with the nearby embankment. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A westbound Lake Street “L” train has just left the Laramie Avenue station on November 11, 1962. This photo gives a good view of how the tracks were shifted over to connect with the nearby embankment. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking east/northeast along Lake Street (now Corcoran Place) at Austin Boulevard on August 12, 1963. The new station entrance has been finished. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking east/northeast along Lake Street (now Corcoran Place) at Austin Boulevard on August 12, 1963. The new station entrance has been finished. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view east along Mansfield Avenue at Lake Street on August 12, 1963. The old ground level tracks and ties have been removed, while a two-car train of 4000s is on the new embankment alignment. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view east along Mansfield Avenue at Lake Street on August 12, 1963. The old ground level tracks and ties have been removed, while a two-car train of 4000s is on the new embankment alignment. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view east at Lake and Parkside, showing the auxiliary entrance to the new Central Avenue "L" station on August 12, 1963. By now, the old ground-level tracks have been removed, except at street crossings. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view east at Lake and Parkside, showing the auxiliary entrance to the new Central Avenue “L” station on August 12, 1963. By now, the old ground-level tracks have been removed, except at street crossings. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

An eastbound two-car Lake Street "L" train heads east on November 24, 1963, after having left the terminal at Harlem Avenue. South Boulevard has been resurfaced, and parking spaces (with meters) added where the tracks used to be. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

An eastbound two-car Lake Street “L” train heads east on November 24, 1963, after having left the terminal at Harlem Avenue. South Boulevard has been resurfaced, and parking spaces (with meters) added where the tracks used to be. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A southbound Western Avenue PCC car prepares to cross the Garfield Park "L" temporary trackage on September 24, 1953. The view looks west. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A southbound Western Avenue PCC car prepares to cross the Garfield Park “L” temporary trackage on September 24, 1953. The view looks west. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Several Chicago Aurora and Elgin interurban cars are visible at the entrance to the Wells Street "L" Terminal on April 6, 1953. The substation under the "L" is still there today and powers the Loop "L". This was the very first color slide my friend Ray DeGroote took (with an Argus C3 camera) on April 6, 1953. He was standing on the platform of the old Franklin Street "L" station.

Several Chicago Aurora and Elgin interurban cars are visible at the entrance to the Wells Street “L” Terminal on April 6, 1953. The substation under the “L” is still there today and powers the Loop “L”. This was the very first color slide my friend Ray DeGroote took (with an Argus C3 camera) on April 6, 1953. He was standing on the platform of the old Franklin Street “L” station.

This is how the northwest corner of 21st Street and 3rd Avenue looked in Manhattan on August 5, 1937. The Third Avenue El was abandoned in 1955 without replacement subway service. In the 68 years since, only a small portion of the Second Avenue Subway has been built.

This is how the northwest corner of 21st Street and 3rd Avenue looked in Manhattan on August 5, 1937. The Third Avenue El was abandoned in 1955 without replacement subway service. In the 68 years since, only a small portion of the Second Avenue Subway has been built.

Photographer Arthur H. Peterson captured this image of a southbound Evanston Express "L" train, including car 4409, near the Berwyn Avenue station on November 25, 1973. The 4000s were ending their more than 50 years of passenger service on the "L". Miles Beitler writes: "There is a third rail in photo aae109a, so why would the trolley pole be raised? The only reason I can think of is that it’s a fantrip, and the train might be on the gauntlet track (to access Buena Yard), but that is not apparent in the photo. Also, 4000s in Evanston Express service were usually at least four cars long." November 25, 1973 was a Sunday, and since the Evanston Express only runs on weekdays (then and now), this must be a fantrip. But there were two-car Evanston Express trains in mid-day service, when the EE ran until almost noon (which it no longer does). I rode on one myself. As for the overhead wire, they may have simply preferred operating the fantrip train using the overhead, as it was about to be eliminated in Evanston, and would no longer be needed south of Howard (as the last CTA freight train had operated several months prior). It's not entirely clear to me exactly when there was third rail available on the entire length of track 1, but the overhead was officially taken out of service in 1975. This left the Skokie Swift as the only CTA that continued to use any overhead wire, and even that was eliminated in the early 2000s.

Photographer Arthur H. Peterson captured this image of a southbound Evanston Express “L” train, including car 4409, near the Berwyn Avenue station on November 25, 1973. The 4000s were ending their more than 50 years of passenger service on the “L”. Miles Beitler writes: “There is a third rail in photo aae109a, so why would the trolley pole be raised? The only reason I can think of is that it’s a fantrip, and the train might be on the gauntlet track (to access Buena Yard), but that is not apparent in the photo. Also, 4000s in Evanston Express service were usually at least four cars long.” November 25, 1973 was a Sunday, and since the Evanston Express only runs on weekdays (then and now), this must be a fantrip. But there were two-car Evanston Express trains in mid-day service, when the EE ran until almost noon (which it no longer does). I rode on one myself. As for the overhead wire, they may have simply preferred operating the fantrip train using the overhead, as it was about to be eliminated in Evanston, and would no longer be needed south of Howard (as the last CTA freight train had operated several months prior). It’s not entirely clear to me exactly when there was third rail available on the entire length of track 1, but the overhead was officially taken out of service in 1975. This left the Skokie Swift as the only CTA that continued to use any overhead wire, and even that was eliminated in the early 2000s.

Although partially double exposed, this rare image shows Hammond Whiting and East Chicago car 79 in service and in color. These streetcars were nearly identical to the Chicago Pullmans. Chicago Surface Lines streetcars shared trackage with these cars, which also went into Chicago as far as 63rd Street until 1940. That is the latest date when this Kodachrome slide could have been taken. Andre Kristopans: "Calumet 79 is NB on Ewing at 95th."

Although partially double exposed, this rare image shows Hammond Whiting and East Chicago car 79 in service and in color. These streetcars were nearly identical to the Chicago Pullmans. Chicago Surface Lines streetcars shared trackage with these cars, which also went into Chicago as far as 63rd Street until 1940. That is the latest date when this Kodachrome slide could have been taken. Andre Kristopans: “Calumet 79 is NB on Ewing at 95th.”

Chicago Aurora and Elgin cars 455 ad 460 are looping at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal in Forest Park on July 23, 1955. This view looks east.

Chicago Aurora and Elgin cars 455 ad 460 are looping at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal in Forest Park on July 23, 1955. This view looks east.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car 58 is at Eaton on October 20, 1940 on a fantrip.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car 58 is at Eaton on October 20, 1940 on a fantrip.

Indiana Railroad car 50 is in Fort Wayne on April 16, 1939.

Indiana Railroad car 50 is in Fort Wayne on April 16, 1939.

Indiana Railroad car 71 is in New Castle. (Charles Able Photo)

Indiana Railroad car 71 is in New Castle. (Charles Able Photo)

Milwaukee Electric interurban car 1116, a West Junction car, is southbound on 6th Street in Milwaukee on October 10, 1948, passing by the North Shore Line Terminal.

Milwaukee Electric interurban car 1116, a West Junction car, is southbound on 6th Street in Milwaukee on October 10, 1948, passing by the North Shore Line Terminal.

Chicago Aurora and Elgin cars 413 and 453 are looping at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal, sometime between 1953 and 1957. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin cars 413 and 453 are looping at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal, sometime between 1953 and 1957. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

An Electroliner leaves the North Shore Line's Edison Court station in Waukegan, probably in the late 1950s. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo)

An Electroliner leaves the North Shore Line’s Edison Court station in Waukegan, probably in the late 1950s. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo)

Here is how the abandoned Chicago Aurora and Elgin Terminal looked like in Aurora in March 1974, fifteen years after the interurban was abandoned. It has since been removed.

Here is how the abandoned Chicago Aurora and Elgin Terminal looked like in Aurora in March 1974, fifteen years after the interurban was abandoned. It has since been removed.

North Shore Line line car 606 is at Orchard and 5th in Milwaukee on October 20, 1951.

North Shore Line line car 606 is at Orchard and 5th in Milwaukee on October 20, 1951.

The Metropolitan West Side Elevated's Logan Square Terminal, as it appeared in the early 1900s. This station was open from 1895 until 1970, when it was replaced by a subway station. From a C. R. Childs real photo postcard.

The Metropolitan West Side Elevated’s Logan Square Terminal, as it appeared in the early 1900s. This station was open from 1895 until 1970, when it was replaced by a subway station. From a C. R. Childs real photo postcard.

Capital Transit (Washington D.C.) ordered 25 pre-PCC cars in 1935. Here is how cars 1002, 1010, 1006, 1009, and 1004 looked on May 13, 1958. By then, they were presumably in dead storage. Only car 1053 from this series was still in service by the time buses replaced streetcars in 1962. This image was shot on type 828 film, with an image size slightly larger than 35mm.

Capital Transit (Washington D.C.) ordered 25 pre-PCC cars in 1935. Here is how cars 1002, 1010, 1006, 1009, and 1004 looked on May 13, 1958. By then, they were presumably in dead storage. Only car 1053 from this series was still in service by the time buses replaced streetcars in 1962. This image was shot on type 828 film, with an image size slightly larger than 35mm.

The view looking east from Narragansett Avenue along 63rd Place on May 19, 1953. This was around the time that buses replaced streetcars on the CTA 63rd Street route, which ran here. The buses ran on 63rd Street west of Central Avenue. 63rd Place became a street after streetcars were abandoned, and there is now a fully developed residential neighborhood (known as Clearing) here. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking east from Narragansett Avenue along 63rd Place on May 19, 1953. This was around the time that buses replaced streetcars on the CTA 63rd Street route, which ran here. The buses ran on 63rd Street west of Central Avenue. 63rd Place became a street after streetcars were abandoned, and there is now a fully developed residential neighborhood (known as Clearing) here. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

CTA streetcar 6209 crosses the Nickel Plate railroad at 94th and Dorchester on July 2, 1949, operating on the 93-95 line. (William C. Hoffman Photo) Our resident South Side expert M.E. writes: "Your caption says the streetcar is crossing the Nickel Plate railroad. I had always thought these railroad tracks belonged to the Chicago and Western Indiana, which was basically a commuter line to towns near the Illinois / Indiana border. Fortunately I have a copy of the 1975 issue of "Train Watchers Guide to Chicago", by John Szwajkart. That book came with a terrific map of Chicago-area railroads and their owners. Right near the junction in your picture, the map lists the track thus: "C&WI (NKP)". So the C&WI owned it and the NKP used it. Also: Note in the picture there are two crewmen. Before the streetcar could cross the railroad track, the conductor had to get off the streetcar, walk to the railroad track, look both ways, and only then signal the streetcar to proceed across the tracks. So the motorman picked up the conductor right next to the track, and the conductor kept the motorman company for this short segment. Several streetcar lines that ran east/west on the far south side required two crewmen because those streetcars crossed railroad tracks at grade. Also: Note all the arms in the side windows. This route was busy because the eastern terminal was near the big steel mills in South Chicago. All those arms tell me it was time for a shift change."

CTA streetcar 6209 crosses the Nickel Plate railroad at 94th and Dorchester on July 2, 1949, operating on the 93-95 line. (William C. Hoffman Photo) Our resident South Side expert M.E. writes: “Your caption says the streetcar is crossing the Nickel Plate railroad. I had always thought these railroad tracks belonged to the Chicago and Western Indiana, which was basically a commuter line to towns near the Illinois / Indiana border. Fortunately I have a copy of the 1975 issue of “Train Watchers Guide to Chicago”, by John Szwajkart. That book came with a terrific map of Chicago-area railroads and their owners. Right near the junction in your picture, the map lists the track thus: “C&WI (NKP)”. So the C&WI owned it and the NKP used it.
Also: Note in the picture there are two crewmen. Before the streetcar could cross the railroad track, the conductor had to get off the streetcar, walk to the railroad track, look both ways, and only then signal the streetcar to proceed across the tracks. So the motorman picked up the conductor right next to the track, and the conductor kept the motorman company for this short segment. Several streetcar lines that ran east/west on the far south side required two crewmen because those streetcars crossed railroad tracks at grade.
Also: Note all the arms in the side windows. This route was busy because the eastern terminal was near the big steel mills in South Chicago. All those arms tell me it was time for a shift change.”

The view looking east along 63rd Street from Prairie Avenue on June 18, 1953. This is where the Jackson Park branch of the "L" turned east. The tracks at right ramped down to ground level and the 63rd Street Lower Yard. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking east along 63rd Street from Prairie Avenue on June 18, 1953. This is where the Jackson Park branch of the “L” turned east. The tracks at right ramped down to ground level and the 63rd Street Lower Yard. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Northbound CTA pre-war PCC streetcar 4015 crosses the Garfield Park "L" temporary tracks at Western And Van Buren on August 4, 1955. Streetcars last ran on Western Avenue in June 1956. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Northbound CTA pre-war PCC streetcar 4015 crosses the Garfield Park “L” temporary tracks at Western And Van Buren on August 4, 1955. Streetcars last ran on Western Avenue in June 1956. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Photographer William C. Hoffman described this as a segment of old Chicago Surface Lines track in Exchange Avenue and Indianapolis Boulevard in East Chicago, Indiana on May 30, 1956. Streetcars last ran here in 1940. Andre Kristopans: "Indianapolis & Exchange “y” was (at the) south end of Whiting line."

Photographer William C. Hoffman described this as a segment of old Chicago Surface Lines track in Exchange Avenue and Indianapolis Boulevard in East Chicago, Indiana on May 30, 1956. Streetcars last ran here in 1940. Andre Kristopans: “Indianapolis & Exchange “y” was (at the) south end of Whiting line.”

The late William C. Hoffman took pictures that no one else bothered to take. Here, he captured a danger sign at the northwest corner of Madison and Dearborn on June 6, 1954, warning motorists not to park where their cars would not clear turning Madison and Milwaukee streetcars.

The late William C. Hoffman took pictures that no one else bothered to take. Here, he captured a danger sign at the northwest corner of Madison and Dearborn on June 6, 1954, warning motorists not to park where their cars would not clear turning Madison and Milwaukee streetcars.

On November 11, 1956, CTA red Pullman car 225 is in 81st Street at Emerald Avenue, on an Illini Railroad Club fantrip. This car was soon purchased by the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine, where it remains today in much the same condition as when it last ran in Chicago. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On November 11, 1956, CTA red Pullman car 225 is in 81st Street at Emerald Avenue, on an Illini Railroad Club fantrip. This car was soon purchased by the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine, where it remains today in much the same condition as when it last ran in Chicago. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

CTA "L" cars 4375 and 4376 are in the State Street Subway at Jackson Boulevard on an October 26, 1969 fantrip. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

CTA “L” cars 4375 and 4376 are in the State Street Subway at Jackson Boulevard on an October 26, 1969 fantrip. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

One of the original CTA entrances to the Dearborn Street Subway at Quincy on May 28, 1961. I assume the building at left is the old post office. (William C. Hoffman Photo) Chris Cole writes: "The Dearborn Subway entrance was on the west side of Dearborn between Adams and Jackson. The building on the left is the old federal courthouse. The Fair Store was at the NE Corner of Adams and Dearborn. They were later replaced by Montgomery Wards who re-skinned the building to make it look “modern”."

One of the original CTA entrances to the Dearborn Street Subway at Quincy on May 28, 1961. I assume the building at left is the old post office. (William C. Hoffman Photo) Chris Cole writes: “The Dearborn Subway entrance was on the west side of Dearborn between Adams and Jackson. The building on the left is the old federal courthouse. The Fair Store was at the NE Corner of Adams and Dearborn. They were later replaced by Montgomery Wards who re-skinned the building to make it look “modern”.”

This appears to be Post Street in San Francisco, circa 1915. Taken from a real photo postcard.

This appears to be Post Street in San Francisco, circa 1915. Taken from a real photo postcard.

A southbound Lake-Dan Ryan "L" train negotiate the curve at Wabash and Harrison in November 1969. The new Dan Ryan line had only recently opened in September, and was joined up with the Lake Street "L". It was eventually linked with the Howard line, which was a better match for ridership than Lake. The view looks north.

A southbound Lake-Dan Ryan “L” train negotiate the curve at Wabash and Harrison in November 1969. The new Dan Ryan line had only recently opened in September, and was joined up with the Lake Street “L”. It was eventually linked with the Howard line, which was a better match for ridership than Lake. The view looks north.

The new Kimball Subway opened on February 1, 1970, as an extension of the Logan Square "L", and connected to tracks in the Kennedy Expressway median. This picture was taken at the Logan Square station on January 29, one day prior to the dedication ceremony.

The new Kimball Subway opened on February 1, 1970, as an extension of the Logan Square “L”, and connected to tracks in the Kennedy Expressway median. This picture was taken at the Logan Square station on January 29, one day prior to the dedication ceremony.

West Penn Railways car 739 is on a fantrip at an unknown time. Interestingly, the car survives. After being used as a residence, after retirement in 1952, it ended up at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, where it is being restored. Larry Lovejoy adds: "The photo of West Penn Railways 739 is northbound at Mt. Pleasant, on Center Avenue, just about to cross West Main Street, the latter which is now Pennsylvania Route 31 but back then had a different highway number. The date is August 10, 1952 and this is an “after the last day” fantrip charter by the Pittsburgh Electric Railway Club. PERC was the direct corporate predecessor of Pennsylvania Trolley Museum. The car behind 739 is the 733. Sorry I can’t identify any of the recognizable faces."

West Penn Railways car 739 is on a fantrip at an unknown time. Interestingly, the car survives. After being used as a residence, after retirement in 1952, it ended up at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, where it is being restored. Larry Lovejoy adds: “The photo of West Penn Railways 739 is northbound at Mt. Pleasant, on Center Avenue, just about to cross West Main Street, the latter which is now Pennsylvania Route 31 but back then had a different highway number. The date is August 10, 1952 and this is an “after the last day” fantrip charter by the Pittsburgh Electric Railway Club. PERC was the direct corporate predecessor of Pennsylvania Trolley Museum. The car behind 739 is the 733. Sorry I can’t identify any of the recognizable faces.”

Milwaukee and Suburban Transport car 943 received a unique paint job as a "safety car," and is shown on February 20, 1955 at the National Avenue station. Ironically, this car was later damaged in an accident.

Milwaukee and Suburban Transport car 943 received a unique paint job as a “safety car,” and is shown on February 20, 1955 at the National Avenue station. Ironically, this car was later damaged in an accident.

North Shore Line loco 459 is northbound at Edison Court in Waukegan in May 1962. Also visible are a late 1950s Plymouth (left) and two Chevys. (E. R. Burke Photo) Fred Hilgenberg adds, "For dating verification purposes (and the photo caption appears accurate), the license plates on the cars are white lettering on red. Illinois used that scheme starting in 1961 (and I think 1962) as a nod to North Central College. It was changed to John Deere colors in 1963. The Plymouth appears to be a 1959 (possibly 1958). The two-tone Chevy is a 1956 Bel Air, the other Chevy is a 1961 Impala."

North Shore Line loco 459 is northbound at Edison Court in Waukegan in May 1962. Also visible are a late 1950s Plymouth (left) and two Chevys. (E. R. Burke Photo) Fred Hilgenberg adds, “For dating verification purposes (and the photo caption appears accurate), the license plates on the cars are white lettering on red. Illinois used that scheme starting in 1961 (and I think 1962) as a nod to North Central College. It was changed to John Deere colors in 1963. The Plymouth appears to be a 1959 (possibly 1958). The two-tone Chevy is a 1956 Bel Air, the other Chevy is a 1961 Impala.”

North Shore Line Silverliner 776 was the final conventional coach ordered by the interurban in 1930. Merchandise Despatch car 232 is at right in this November 19, 1960 view at the Harrison Street Shops.

North Shore Line Silverliner 776 was the final conventional coach ordered by the interurban in 1930. Merchandise Despatch car 232 is at right in this November 19, 1960 view at the Harrison Street Shops.

This picture, taken on January 2, 1961, gives an excellent overview of the North Shore Line's Milwaukee Terminal. The view looks south.

This picture, taken on January 2, 1961, gives an excellent overview of the North Shore Line’s Milwaukee Terminal. The view looks south.

North Shore Line combine 250 has just left the Milwaukee Terminal in June 1962.

North Shore Line combine 250 has just left the Milwaukee Terminal in June 1962.

CTA "L" car number 1 in May 1963. Don's rail Photos: "1 was built by Jackson & Sharpe in 1892 as South Side Rapid Transit Co 1 as a steam trailer. It was rebuilt as a MU motor car in 1898. It became Chicago Elevated Railway 1 in 1913 and became CRT 1 in 1924. It was preserved by CTA in 1947 and donated to Chicago History Museum in 2005."

CTA “L” car number 1 in May 1963. Don’s rail Photos: “1 was built by Jackson & Sharpe in 1892 as South Side Rapid Transit Co 1 as a steam trailer. It was rebuilt as a MU motor car in 1898. It became Chicago Elevated Railway 1 in 1913 and became CRT 1 in 1924. It was preserved by CTA in 1947 and donated to Chicago History Museum in 2005.”

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company double-ended car 13 has just left the 69th Street Terminal and is signed for Westchester in this early 1950s view. The long Westchester line was replaced by buses in June 1954.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company double-ended car 13 has just left the 69th Street Terminal and is signed for Westchester in this early 1950s view. The long Westchester line was replaced by buses in June 1954.

Three old Metropolitan "L" cars are at Indiana Avenue on September 2, 1955, and appear to be operating on the Stock Yards branch. Our resident South Side expert M.E. notes: "This time your caption is absolutely correct -- this is the Stock Yards line's terminal at Indiana Ave. on the southernmost platform. The other side of the platform was for southbound mainline trains to Jackson Park and Englewood."

Three old Metropolitan “L” cars are at Indiana Avenue on September 2, 1955, and appear to be operating on the Stock Yards branch. Our resident South Side expert M.E. notes: “This time your caption is absolutely correct — this is the Stock Yards line’s terminal at Indiana Ave. on the southernmost platform. The other side of the platform was for southbound mainline trains to Jackson Park and Englewood.”

This picture was taken on a North Shore Line fantrip using the Electroliner, but the time and place are not evident. Nick Jenkins: "Photo of Electroliner (aae053) is on the interchange track with the Milwaukee Road at Racine."

This picture was taken on a North Shore Line fantrip using the Electroliner, but the time and place are not evident. Nick Jenkins: “Photo of Electroliner (aae053) is on the interchange track with the Milwaukee Road at Racine.”

North Shore Line car 719 is part of a westbound two-car train on the Mundelein branch in November 1962. The Perpetual Adoration stop was an obvious fan favorite, as it expressed their thoughts about the legendary interurban.

North Shore Line car 719 is part of a westbound two-car train on the Mundelein branch in November 1962. The Perpetual Adoration stop was an obvious fan favorite, as it expressed their thoughts about the legendary interurban.

North Shore Line caboose 1003 is part of a freight train at an unknown location.

North Shore Line caboose 1003 is part of a freight train at an unknown location.

North Shore Line caboose 1003 is at the back end of a freight train on the Skokie Valley Route in June 1962.

North Shore Line caboose 1003 is at the back end of a freight train on the Skokie Valley Route in June 1962.

A two-car train of North Shore Line Silverliners is in North Chicago in January 1963.

A two-car train of North Shore Line Silverliners is in North Chicago in January 1963.

Although there was never a chance that Chicago would be subjected to a Blitz during World War II, part of our war preparedness involved a practice blackout on August 12, 1942. Both "L" and interurban service was suspended for 30 minutes.

Although there was never a chance that Chicago would be subjected to a Blitz during World War II, part of our war preparedness involved a practice blackout on August 12, 1942. Both “L” and interurban service was suspended for 30 minutes.

This rare poster (framed) recently sold for $338.34 on eBay. This was the CTA's attempt to help riders get around after the North Shore Line abandonment. But there wasn't much they really could do, since the NSL served many communities far beyond the reach of the CTA. In 1963, the CTA served Skokie with the #97 bus, but starting in April 1964, offered "L" service to Dempster Street via the new Skokie Swift (on the former NSL right-of-way).

This rare poster (framed) recently sold for $338.34 on eBay. This was the CTA’s attempt to help riders get around after the North Shore Line abandonment. But there wasn’t much they really could do, since the NSL served many communities far beyond the reach of the CTA. In 1963, the CTA served Skokie with the #97 bus, but starting in April 1964, offered “L” service to Dempster Street via the new Skokie Swift (on the former NSL right-of-way).

This is the North Shore Line on February 6, 1949, and the photographer was Charles A. Brown. The Briergate station was built in 1926 on the new Skokie Valley Route, in a style generally referred to as "Insull Spanish." There were nine such stations on the SVR and Briergate is the only one that still exists. There is a more recent picture of it in my new book The North Shore Line. Briergate station is in west Highland Park, IL and the car number is 157. (Courtesy of Larry Miller III)

This is the North Shore Line on February 6, 1949, and the photographer was Charles A. Brown. The Briergate station was built in 1926 on the new Skokie Valley Route, in a style generally referred to as “Insull Spanish.” There were nine such stations on the SVR and Briergate is the only one that still exists. There is a more recent picture of it in my new book The North Shore Line. Briergate station is in west Highland Park, IL and the car number is 157. (Courtesy of Larry Miller III)

North Shore Line electric loco 459 is an eastbound freight in Kenosha, Wisconsin on June 29, 1962.

North Shore Line electric loco 459 is an eastbound freight in Kenosha, Wisconsin on June 29, 1962.

The North Shore Line's Milwaukee Terminal as it appeared on June 29, 1962.

The North Shore Line’s Milwaukee Terminal as it appeared on June 29, 1962.

North Shore Line wooden coach 302. Don's Rail Photos: "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."

North Shore Line wooden coach 302. Don’s Rail Photos: “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.”

North Shore Line wooden coach 140. Don's Rail Photos: "138 thru 141 were built by American Car in 1910. They were rebuilt for Elevated compatibility in 1919. They were also leased to the CA&E in 1936, returned to the CNS&M in 1945, and sold to the CA&E in 1946."

North Shore Line wooden coach 140. Don’s Rail Photos: “138 thru 141 were built by American Car in 1910. They were rebuilt for Elevated compatibility in 1919. They were also leased to the CA&E in 1936, returned to the CNS&M in 1945, and sold to the CA&E in 1946.”

North Shore Line wooden coach 303. Don's Rail Photos: "303 thru 305 were built by American Car in 1910 and were almost identical. In 1939 they became sleet cutters and were retired and scrapped in 1940."

North Shore Line wooden coach 303. Don’s Rail Photos: “303 thru 305 were built by American Car in 1910 and were almost identical. In 1939 they became sleet cutters and were retired and scrapped in 1940.”

North Shore Line car 162. Don's Rail Photos: "162 was built by Brill in 1915, (job) #19605. It was acquired by American Museum of Electricity in 1963 and resold to Connecticut Trolley Museum in 1971." Car 162 is now at the East Troy Railroad Museum, where it is undergoing restoration. It is now the oldest surviving car in the fleet.

North Shore Line car 162. Don’s Rail Photos: “162 was built by Brill in 1915, (job) #19605. It was acquired by American Museum of Electricity in 1963 and resold to Connecticut Trolley Museum in 1971.” Car 162 is now at the East Troy Railroad Museum, where it is undergoing restoration. It is now the oldest surviving car in the fleet.

North Shore Line car 748 is part of a two-car train heading northbound at Adams and Wabash on September 4, 1961. The view looks south, and you can see CTA Tower 12 in the distance.

North Shore Line car 748 is part of a two-car train heading northbound at Adams and Wabash on September 4, 1961. The view looks south, and you can see CTA Tower 12 in the distance.

A North Shore Line Electroliner is at the Adams and Wabash station on the Loop "L" on September 4, 1961. The interurban had a station here that was connected directly to the "L".

A North Shore Line Electroliner is at the Adams and Wabash station on the Loop “L” on September 4, 1961. The interurban had a station here that was connected directly to the “L”.

Here is North Shore Line Merchandise Despatch car 228 as it appeared on Sunday afternoon, August 9, 1953, at the Highwood Shops. It is now undergoing restoration at the East Troy Railroad Museum in Wisconsin. (Bob Selle Photo on Ansco 616 film)

Here is North Shore Line Merchandise Despatch car 228 as it appeared on Sunday afternoon, August 9, 1953, at the Highwood Shops. It is now undergoing restoration at the East Troy Railroad Museum in Wisconsin. (Bob Selle Photo on Ansco 616 film)

North Shore Line car 730 at Edison Court in Waukegan. This must be right before the end, as this Kodachrome slide (by Walter Schopp) wasn't processed until March 1963, two months after the abandonment. Looks like someone has already swiped the destination sign.

North Shore Line car 730 at Edison Court in Waukegan. This must be right before the end, as this Kodachrome slide (by Walter Schopp) wasn’t processed until March 1963, two months after the abandonment. Looks like someone has already swiped the destination sign.

Our Latest Book, Now Available:

The North Shore Line

Publication Date: February 20, 2023

FYI, my new Arcadia Publishing book The North Shore Line is now available. My publisher decided to expand it to 160 pages, instead of the usual 128. That’s a 25% increase, without any change to the $23.99 price. I am quite pleased with how this turned out.

From the back cover:

As late as 1963, it was possible to board high-speed electric trains on Chicago’s famous Loop “L” that ran 90 miles north to Milwaukee. This was the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad, commonly known as the North Shore Line. It rose from humble origins in the 1890s as a local streetcar line in Waukegan to eventually become America’s fastest interurban under the visionary management of Midwest utilities tycoon Samuel Insull. The North Shore Line, under Insull, became a worthy competitor to the established steam railroads. Hobbled by the Great Depression, the road fought back in 1941 with two streamlined, air-conditioned, articulated trains called Electroliners, which included dining service. It regained its popularity during World War II, when gasoline and tires were rationed, but eventually, it fell victim to highways and the automobile. The North Shore Line had intercity rail, commuter rail, electric freight, city streetcars, and even buses. It has been gone for nearly 60 years, but it will always remain the Road of Service.

Each copy purchased here will be signed by the author, and you will also receive a bonus North Shore Line map.  Books will ship by USPS Media Mail.

Chapters:
01. Beginnings
02. The Milwaukee Division
03. The Shore Line Route
04. The Skokie Valley Route
05. The Mundelein Branch
06. On the “L”
07. City Streetcars
08. Trolley Freight
09. The Long Goodbye
10. The Legacy

Title The North Shore Line
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2023
ISBN 1467108960, 978-1467108966
Length 160 pages

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

New Compact Disc, Now Available:

CTA-1
The Last Chicago Streetcars 1958
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Until now, it seemed as though audio recordings of Chicago streetcars were practically non-existent. For whatever reason, the late William A. Steventon does not appear to have made any for his Railroad Record Club, even though he did make other recordings in the Chicago area in 1956.

Now, audio recordings of the last runs of Chicago streetcars have been found, in the collections of the late Jeffrey L. Wien (who was one of the riders on that last car). We do not know who made these recordings, but this must have been done using a portable reel-to-reel machine.

These important recordings will finally fill a gap in transit history. The last Chicago Transit Authority streetcar finished its run in the early hours of June 21, 1958. Now you can experience these events just as Chicagoans did.

As a bonus, we have included Keeping Pace, a 1939 Chicago Surface Lines employee training program. This was digitally transferred from an original 16” transcription disc. These recordings were unheard for 80 years.

Total time – 74:38

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Elevation

An eastbound six-car Lake Street "L" A train approaches Oak Park Avenue in suburban Oak Park on March 23, 1955. Trains ran adjacent to South Boulevard until October 28, 1962, when they were relocated to the Chicago and North Western embankment. (Robert A. Selle Photo)

An eastbound six-car Lake Street “L” A train approaches Oak Park Avenue in suburban Oak Park on March 23, 1955. Trains ran adjacent to South Boulevard until October 28, 1962, when they were relocated to the Chicago and North Western embankment. (Robert A. Selle Photo)

October 28, 2022 was the 60th anniversary of the elevation of the outer 2.5 miles of the Lake Street “L” (now the CTA Green Line). This was an important event in the history of suburban Oak Park and the Austin neighborhood in Chicago.

The steel Lake Street “L” structure, first opened in 1893, was only built as far west as Laramie Avenue (5200 W). Once the main “L” lines were built by the four original private companies, they extended service out to less populated areas at a greatly reduced cost by putting the tracks at ground level. The idea was to establish service, then wait until the surrounding area developed, and then elevate the tracks.

In some cases, this elevation never happened. To this day, portions of the Chicago Transit Authority’s Brown, Pink, Yellow, and Purple lines continue to run at ground level.

The Lake Street “L”‘s ground level extension opened in 1901. The Chicago and North Western’s tracks, which were adjacent to the “L”, were elevated circa 1909-1910, with extremely tight clearances the result. The ground level “L” operated much like a streetcar, using overhead wire instead of third rail, and used high-level platforms.

By the 1930s, the City of Chicago, under the influence of New York City, wanted to build subways to replace the Loop elevated. The subways that eventually were built (State Street, Milwaukee-Dearborn, and West Side) were very ambitious and costly projects which helped alleviate overcrowding on the Loop, but could not replace it outright.

City planners had ideas for putting portions of the Lake line into various subways, so portions of the elevated structure could be torn down. But once the Chicago Transit Authority took over operations in 1947, it was quickly determined that the outer portion of the line, the ground-level section, was the real difficulty.

There were 22 grade crossings in this section, all manually operated by a gateman 24 hours a day. In a similar situation, the City of Berwyn was uncooperative with the CTA’s plans to reduce the number of grade crossings and install automatic gates. As a result, service on the Douglas Park “L” was cut back from Oak Park Avenue (6800 W) to 54th Avenue (5400 W), where it remains today.

Faced with the possible truncation of the Lake Street “L” to Laramie Avenue, the Village of Oak Park took a different approach, working cooperatively with all the interested parties (the City of Chicago, Chicago Transit Authority, and the Chicago and North Western), and a plan came about that benefitted everyone.

The C&NW embankment had enough extra space on it to accommodate the CTA tracks, which permitted the Lake Street “L” to be elevated at last. Removing the tracks from the street eliminated all 22 grade crossings, reducing the CTA’s payroll.

“L” operations were speeded up, offering better service, and the North Western received new revenue from renting out the space. The railroad was allowed to close some lightly used commuter rail stations, ceding these customers to the CTA, which speeded up service for riders farther out.

Removing the ground-level tracks widened the street, reducing traffic congestion and increasing the amount of parking spaces available. It was a win-win for all.

Plans were finalized around 1958, but construction does not seem to have begun until 1961. Service was changed over to the embankment at 6:00pm on October 28, 1962 (see the newspaper article below).

I was seven years old when this transition took place, and rode the ground-level “L” many times. It was always a bit tense, as all 22 cross streets were blind crossings. Cars might come darting out from under a viaduct at the last second, and there were some collisions between “L” cars and autos.

The tight clearances also prevented the use of the CTA’s 6000-series “L” cars in the 1950s, as they had curved sides that stuck out farther than previous equipment. Once the line began running on the embankment, it was possible to use newer equipment, and the CTA assigned many of their new 2000-series rapid transit cars to the Lake line starting in 1964.

Now, the “L” has been running on the embankment for nearly the same length of time as the ground-level operation had. And practically every trace of that surface trackage and stations is long gone.

People who have grown up in the area since 1962 might not have any idea that the “L” ever ran anywhere but on the embankment, but this is an important part of Oak Park’s history, and it deserves to be remembered.

Fortunately, we recently collected various images showing both the construction work, and many taken on the very day of the ground-level operation, October 28, 1962. In addition to this, we have an excellent selection of other classic traction photos from around the country.

We are pleased to report that our latest book The North Shore Line is now 100% complete and has gone to press. The publication date is February 20, 2023, and we are now taking pre-orders. You will find more information about that at the end of this post (and our Online Store).

-David Sadowski

PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 1,016 members.

Our friend Kenneth Gear now has a Facebook group for the Railroad Record Club. If you enjoy listening to audio recordings of classic railroad trains, whether steam, electric, or diesel, you might consider joining.

FYI, the Hoosier Traction Facebook Group celebrates electric transit in Indiana and the Midwest. It also supports the activities of the annual Hoosier Traction Meet in Dayton, OH (although not affiliated with the North American Transit Historical Society, which organizes that event).

The Lake Street “L” in Transition

In this July 16, 1961 view, work has just started on connecting the "L" with the nearby Chicago and North Western embankment. But the changeover point between overhead wire and third rail has already been moved to the Central Avenue ground-level station. This would otherwise have been a complicating factor in the transition process, as both routes would need to be operational for a short time simultaneously.

In this July 16, 1961 view, work has just started on connecting the “L” with the nearby Chicago and North Western embankment. But the changeover point between overhead wire and third rail has already been moved to the Central Avenue ground-level station. This would otherwise have been a complicating factor in the transition process, as both routes would need to be operational for a short time simultaneously.

The view looking west from Laramie Avenue on August 27, 1961. A new temporary track has been built at left, supported by wooden pilings, to allow the ground-level operation to continue while the new "L" connection is being built. Note the Chicago and North Western freight train at right.

The view looking west from Laramie Avenue on August 27, 1961. A new temporary track has been built at left, supported by wooden pilings, to allow the ground-level operation to continue while the new “L” connection is being built. Note the Chicago and North Western freight train at right.

This picture, taken on August 27, 1961, shows how the "L" was shored up during construction of the new connection to the nearby railroad embankment.

This picture, taken on August 27, 1961, shows how the “L” was shored up during construction of the new connection to the nearby railroad embankment.

On August 27, 1961, new steel has been added to the "L" structure at Laramie Avenue. This section of "L" was eventually rebuilt in the 1990s, when the line was shut down for about two years.

On August 27, 1961, new steel has been added to the “L” structure at Laramie Avenue. This section of “L” was eventually rebuilt in the 1990s, when the line was shut down for about two years.

On September 10, 1961, new streel is being added to the "L" to support the additional tracks needed for the realignment.

On September 10, 1961, new streel is being added to the “L” to support the additional tracks needed for the realignment.

Looking west from the Laramie Avenue "L" station on September 17, 1961. New tracks will be added to create a junction between the old and new alignments.

Looking west from the Laramie Avenue “L” station on September 17, 1961. New tracks will be added to create a junction between the old and new alignments.

Third rail (here referred to as "trolley rail") was installed between Laramie and Parkside Avenues on the Lake Street "L" as of May 8, 1961. This was one of the first actions taken in the project to move the "L" onto the nearby railroad embankment.

Third rail (here referred to as “trolley rail”) was installed between Laramie and Parkside Avenues on the Lake Street “L” as of May 8, 1961. This was one of the first actions taken in the project to move the “L” onto the nearby railroad embankment.

Work on the CTA's new Congress "L" branch was finishing up just as work began on realigning the outer portion of the Lake Street "L". Once these projects were finished, all the CTA grade crossings in Oak Park and Forest Park were eliminated.

Work on the CTA’s new Congress “L” branch was finishing up just as work began on realigning the outer portion of the Lake Street “L”. Once these projects were finished, all the CTA grade crossings in Oak Park and Forest Park were eliminated.

The changeover point from third rail to overhead wire on the Lake Street "L" was moved from Laramie to Central Avenue on May 22, 1961, at the beginning of the relocation project.

The changeover point from third rail to overhead wire on the Lake Street “L” was moved from Laramie to Central Avenue on May 22, 1961, at the beginning of the relocation project.

Overhead wire was removed from the eastbound Lake Street "L" track between Central and Laramie on May 24, 1961.

Overhead wire was removed from the eastbound Lake Street “L” track between Central and Laramie on May 24, 1961.

Central Avenue and Lake Street on October 28, 1962. This was the only place on the "L" system where trains under wire crossed a trolley bus line. Motor buses replaced trolley buses on Central on January 17, 1970. This portion of Lake Street was renamed Corcoran Place a few years after this picture was taken, to honor a local alderman who had recently died.

Central Avenue and Lake Street on October 28, 1962. This was the only place on the “L” system where trains under wire crossed a trolley bus line. Motor buses replaced trolley buses on Central on January 17, 1970. This portion of Lake Street was renamed Corcoran Place a few years after this picture was taken, to honor a local alderman who had recently died.

We are looking east along what was then Lake Street at Mayfield Avenue on October 28, 1962. We are just east of where the dedication ceremony took place. The new Central Avenue "L" station can be seen in the distance.

We are looking east along what was then Lake Street at Mayfield Avenue on October 28, 1962. We are just east of where the dedication ceremony took place. The new Central Avenue “L” station can be seen in the distance.

We are looking to the northeast along what was then Lake Street (now Corcoran Place) just east of Austin Boulevard on October 28, 1962.

We are looking to the northeast along what was then Lake Street (now Corcoran Place) just east of Austin Boulevard on October 28, 1962.

Chicago's dedication ceremony for the new "L" alignment took place on what was then Lake Street (now Corcoran Place), between Austin Boulevard and Mason Avenue. Mayor Richard J, Daley and CTA chairman Virgil Gunlock presided. A similar ceremony was held in Oak Park.

Chicago’s dedication ceremony for the new “L” alignment took place on what was then Lake Street (now Corcoran Place), between Austin Boulevard and Mason Avenue. Mayor Richard J, Daley and CTA chairman Virgil Gunlock presided. A similar ceremony was held in Oak Park.

CTA "L" car 4407 appears to have been decorated for the dedication event near the Austin stop on October 28, 1962.

CTA “L” car 4407 appears to have been decorated for the dedication event near the Austin stop on October 28, 1962.

I believe we are just west of the Austin Boulevard "L" station on October 28, 1962.

I believe we are just west of the Austin Boulevard “L” station on October 28, 1962.

Clearances were extremely narrow on the ground level portion of the Lake Street "L", and therefore, when the line was elevated, temporary entrances were used. Once the old "L" had been cleared away, construction of the permanent entrances continued.

Clearances were extremely narrow on the ground level portion of the Lake Street “L”, and therefore, when the line was elevated, temporary entrances were used. Once the old “L” had been cleared away, construction of the permanent entrances continued.

Again, near Austin Boulevard on October 28, 1962. We are looking to the northeast.

Again, near Austin Boulevard on October 28, 1962. We are looking to the northeast.

An eastbound Lake Street "A" train is just east of Ridgeland Avenue on October 28, 1962.

An eastbound Lake Street “A” train is just east of Ridgeland Avenue on October 28, 1962.

We are looking west, just east of the Ridgeland Avenue "L" station on October 28, 1962. The building at left with the sign on it advertising a dry cleaner is now occupied by the Tayloe Glass Company.

We are looking west, just east of the Ridgeland Avenue “L” station on October 28, 1962. The building at left with the sign on it advertising a dry cleaner is now occupied by the Tayloe Glass Company.

We are looking west along South Boulevard at Marion Street in suburban Oak Park on October 28, 1962. A two-tone mid-50s Ford heads north on Marion, while an early 1960s Corvair is eastbound on South Boulevard. This is a rare opportunity to see "L" cars on both levels.

We are looking west along South Boulevard at Marion Street in suburban Oak Park on October 28, 1962. A two-tone mid-50s Ford heads north on Marion, while an early 1960s Corvair is eastbound on South Boulevard. This is a rare opportunity to see “L” cars on both levels.

We are looking west along South Boulevard at Marion Street on October 28, 1962. The sign at left advertises Blue Cab, and there is a cab waiting there to serve people getting off the "L".

We are looking west along South Boulevard at Marion Street on October 28, 1962. The sign at left advertises Blue Cab, and there is a cab waiting there to serve people getting off the “L”.

Looking west along South Boulevard at Marion Street on October 28, 1962. Due to the narrow width of South Boulevard in this area, it was a one-way street going east. This section is now a two-way street, although there is still a section that is one way westbound, between Oak Park Avenue and Home Avenue.

Looking west along South Boulevard at Marion Street on October 28, 1962. Due to the narrow width of South Boulevard in this area, it was a one-way street going east. This section is now a two-way street, although there is still a section that is one way westbound, between Oak Park Avenue and Home Avenue.

A closer view of the new and old "L" stations. The sign above the entrance advertises the all metal "L" cars the CTA had operated on Lake since the last wood cars were taken off this line in 1954.

A closer view of the new and old “L” stations. The sign above the entrance advertises the all metal “L” cars the CTA had operated on Lake since the last wood cars were taken off this line in 1954.

At one time, Blue Cab had their headquarters on South Boulevard, but I don't recall offhand whether they were located here. The Lake Street "L" ground-level trackage extended across Harlem Avenue a short distance west of here. In the distance, you can see construction is already underway on expanding the railroad embankment to create a new yard for Lake Street trains. It opened in 1964.

At one time, Blue Cab had their headquarters on South Boulevard, but I don’t recall offhand whether they were located here. The Lake Street “L” ground-level trackage extended across Harlem Avenue a short distance west of here. In the distance, you can see construction is already underway on expanding the railroad embankment to create a new yard for Lake Street trains. It opened in 1964.

This slide, taken by the same photographer, has a processing date of May 1963. Lake Street trains are running on the embankment, with their trolley poles removed. The old tracks are still in place but will soon be ripped up. The adjacent street was widened and parking spaces added.

This slide, taken by the same photographer, has a processing date of May 1963. Lake Street trains are running on the embankment, with their trolley poles removed. The old tracks are still in place but will soon be ripped up. The adjacent street was widened and parking spaces added.

The Congress Expressway is under construction at Homan Avenue on October 9, 1955, and would soon open as far west as Laramie Avenue. Tracks are already being laid for the new CTA Congress "L" line, which opened on June 22, 1958, replacing the old Garfield Park "L". Note the very flimsy barrier separating the "L" and highway. This soon proved completely inadequate and was eventually replaced by concrete barriers. Mayor Richard J. Daley drove the first spike for the new rails on July 8, 1955 near Pulaski Road. We are looking east. The entire story of the transition from the Garfield Park "L" to the Congress median line is told in my 2018 book Building Chicago's Subways.

The Congress Expressway is under construction at Homan Avenue on October 9, 1955, and would soon open as far west as Laramie Avenue. Tracks are already being laid for the new CTA Congress “L” line, which opened on June 22, 1958, replacing the old Garfield Park “L”. Note the very flimsy barrier separating the “L” and highway. This soon proved completely inadequate and was eventually replaced by concrete barriers. Mayor Richard J. Daley drove the first spike for the new rails on July 8, 1955 near Pulaski Road. We are looking east. The entire story of the transition from the Garfield Park “L” to the Congress median line is told in my 2018 book Building Chicago’s Subways.

We were fortunately to recently purchase this original early red border Kodachrome slide, taken on September 7, 1941. It shows a fan taking a picture of Connecticut Company car 500, built in 1904 and described as the pride of the fleet, equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, and dining tables. It was acquired by the Shore Line Trolley Museum in 1948.

We were fortunately to recently purchase this original early red border Kodachrome slide, taken on September 7, 1941. It shows a fan taking a picture of Connecticut Company car 500, built in 1904 and described as the pride of the fleet, equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, and dining tables. It was acquired by the Shore Line Trolley Museum in 1948.

A view of the Chicago Transit Authority's Stock Yards branch on September 16, 1956. Service was discontinued the following year, and it has now been 65 years since the last wooden "L" car ran in regular service in Chicago.

A view of the Chicago Transit Authority’s Stock Yards branch on September 16, 1956. Service was discontinued the following year, and it has now been 65 years since the last wooden “L” car ran in regular service in Chicago.

Some Milwaukee Electric interurban trains ran past the North Shore Line's Milwaukee Terminal, although there does not seem to have been a track connection here. This picture dates to the 1940s. A TM interurban car did operate on a North Shore Line fantrip in 1949, so there must have been a track connection somewhere. An Electroliner is berthed at the terminal.

Some Milwaukee Electric interurban trains ran past the North Shore Line’s Milwaukee Terminal, although there does not seem to have been a track connection here. This picture dates to the 1940s. A TM interurban car did operate on a North Shore Line fantrip in 1949, so there must have been a track connection somewhere. An Electroliner is berthed at the terminal.

The Logan Square “L” Terminal, right around the end of service in late January 1970. Service was extended on this line via the new Kimball Subway and a median line in the Kennedy Expressway. Service went only to Jefferson Park at first, but now continues all the way to O’Hare Airport.

Another view of the old Logan Square "L" station near the end of service.

Another view of the old Logan Square “L” station near the end of service.

On December 6, 1958, CTA salt car AA98 was still on a trailer at the Electric Railway Historical Society (ERHS) location in Downers Grove. It was formerly Chicago Surface Lines car 2846 and was built in 1908 by the South Chicago City Railway. It went to the Illinois Railway Museum in 1973. (Robert A. Selle Photo)

On December 6, 1958, CTA salt car AA98 was still on a trailer at the Electric Railway Historical Society (ERHS) location in Downers Grove. It was formerly Chicago Surface Lines car 2846 and was built in 1908 by the South Chicago City Railway. It went to the Illinois Railway Museum in 1973. (Robert A. Selle Photo)

The CTA Congress Expressway median line was not the first of its type, that distinction having been taken by the Pacific Electric in 1940. Here, we see a 600-series "Hollywood" car in Cahuenga Pass at Barham Boulevard. This print was made in 1946 but could have been taken earlier. PE service here ended in 1952 (this was part of the Van Nuys line) and the right-of-way was taken up by additional traffic lanes. (Stuart A. Liebman Photo)

The CTA Congress Expressway median line was not the first of its type, that distinction having been taken by the Pacific Electric in 1940. Here, we see a 600-series “Hollywood” car in Cahuenga Pass at Barham Boulevard. This print was made in 1946 but could have been taken earlier. PE service here ended in 1952 (this was part of the Van Nuys line) and the right-of-way was taken up by additional traffic lanes. (Stuart A. Liebman Photo)

Don's Rail Photos: "(North Shore Line) 420 was was built by Pullman in 1928 as an observation. It was out of service by 1932. On July 21, 1943, it reentered service as a motorized coach. It was sold to Seashore Trolley Museum in 1963." Here we see it prior to conversion.

Don’s Rail Photos: “(North Shore Line) 420 was was built by Pullman in 1928 as an observation. It was out of service by 1932. On July 21, 1943, it reentered service as a motorized coach. It was sold to Seashore Trolley Museum in 1963.” Here we see it prior to conversion.

North Shore Line diner 418 at the Milwaukee Terminal, when it was still in service as a diner. This print was made in 1945 but could have been taken earlier. Dining car service on the CNS&M ended in 1947, except for the Electroliners, and car 415, which was used in the "substitute Liner" and for charters.

North Shore Line diner 418 at the Milwaukee Terminal, when it was still in service as a diner. This print was made in 1945 but could have been taken earlier. Dining car service on the CNS&M ended in 1947, except for the Electroliners, and car 415, which was used in the “substitute Liner” and for charters.

A five-car train of Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood cars, including 312, in Wheaton. This print was made in 1945, but the picture was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

A five-car train of Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood cars, including 312, in Wheaton. This print was made in 1945, but the picture was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood car 24 in Wheaton. This print was made in 1945, but the picture was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood car 24 in Wheaton. This print was made in 1945, but the picture was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin steel car 431, which was built by Pullman, in Wheaton. This print was made in 1945, but the picture was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin steel car 431, which was built by Pullman, in Wheaton. This print was made in 1945, but the picture was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

A two-car Chicago Aurora and Elgin train, with 414 at the rear, heads west at Laramie Avenue as an Elgin Express. This picture was printed in 1945 but was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

A two-car Chicago Aurora and Elgin train, with 414 at the rear, heads west at Laramie Avenue as an Elgin Express. This picture was printed in 1945 but was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Surface Lines pre-war PCC 7020 heads west on Madison Street at Central Park Avenue. This print was made in 1946 but could have been taken earlier. There is another picture taken at this location in my 2017 book Chicago Trolleys, showing a postwar PCC. (Ken Kidder Photo)

Chicago Surface Lines pre-war PCC 7020 heads west on Madison Street at Central Park Avenue. This print was made in 1946 but could have been taken earlier. There is another picture taken at this location in my 2017 book Chicago Trolleys, showing a postwar PCC. (Ken Kidder Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood car 140, formerly from the North Shore Line. Don's Rail Photos: "138 thru 141 were built by American Car in 1910. They were rebuilt for Elevated compatibility in 1919. They were also leased to the CA&E in 1936, returned to the CNS&M in 1945, and sold to the CA&E in 1946." This print was made in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood car 140, formerly from the North Shore Line. Don’s Rail Photos: “138 thru 141 were built by American Car in 1910. They were rebuilt for Elevated compatibility in 1919. They were also leased to the CA&E in 1936, returned to the CNS&M in 1945, and sold to the CA&E in 1946.” This print was made in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin steel car 417 heads up a Chicago Express at Laramie Avenue. This print was made in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin steel car 417 heads up a Chicago Express at Laramie Avenue. This print was made in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Don's Rail Photos: "In 1937, the CA&E needed additional equipment. Much was available, but most of the cars suffered from extended lack of maintenance. Finally, 5 coaches were found on the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis which were just the ticket. 35 thru 39, built by Cincinnati Car in 1913, were purchased and remodeled for service as 600 thru 604. The ends were narrowed for service on the El. They had been motors, but came out as control trailers. Other modifications included drawbars, control, etc. A new paint scheme was devised. Blue and grey with red trim and tan roof was adopted from several selections. They entered service between July and October in 1937. The following year, three more cars were acquired. 80 thru 82 were combines built by Cincinnati in 1913. On the CA&E, they were rebuilt in much the same manner as the 600s. The baggage compartment was fitted with seats and the cars were operated as full coaches numbered 700 thru 702. 700 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1913 as WB&A 80. It was sold as CA&E 700 in 1938." This picture was printed in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. The location is the Wheaton Shops. (E. Dale Photo)

Don’s Rail Photos: “In 1937, the CA&E needed additional equipment. Much was available, but most of the cars suffered from extended lack of maintenance. Finally, 5 coaches were found on the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis which were just the ticket. 35 thru 39, built by Cincinnati Car in 1913, were purchased and remodeled for service as 600 thru 604. The ends were narrowed for service on the El. They had been motors, but came out as control trailers. Other modifications included drawbars, control, etc. A new paint scheme was devised. Blue and grey with red trim and tan roof was adopted from several selections. They entered service between July and October in 1937. The following year, three more cars were acquired. 80 thru 82 were combines built by Cincinnati in 1913. On the CA&E, they were rebuilt in much the same manner as the 600s. The baggage compartment was fitted with seats and the cars were operated as full coaches numbered 700 thru 702. 700 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1913 as WB&A 80. It was sold as CA&E 700 in 1938.” This picture was printed in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. The location is the Wheaton Shops. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin 435 is westbound at Laramie Avenue on an Aurora Express. This photo was printed in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin 435 is westbound at Laramie Avenue on an Aurora Express. This photo was printed in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin 423 is running on the streets of Aurora as an express. The terminal was relocated off the street at the end of 1939, and the license plate on the car at left is from 1934 or 1936 (probably the former). This print was made in 1945. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin 423 is running on the streets of Aurora as an express. The terminal was relocated off the street at the end of 1939, and the license plate on the car at left is from 1934 or 1936 (probably the former). This print was made in 1945. (E. Dale Photo)

Birney car 1501 is in Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1947. (Victor G. Wagner Photo)

Birney car 1501 is in Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1947. (Victor G. Wagner Photo)

This is the West Penn Railway in Greensburgh, Pennsylvania, which is 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

This is the West Penn Railway in Greensburgh, Pennsylvania, which is 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

North Shore Line 714 heads up a southbound Chicago Express on the Shore Line Route in North Chicago in 1947. This car was built in 1926 by the Cincinnati Car Company. After the North Shore Line was abandoned in 1963, 714 went to the Illinois Railway Museum, where it is today. (Victor G. Wagner Photo)

North Shore Line 714 heads up a southbound Chicago Express on the Shore Line Route in North Chicago in 1947. This car was built in 1926 by the Cincinnati Car Company. After the North Shore Line was abandoned in 1963, 714 went to the Illinois Railway Museum, where it is today. (Victor G. Wagner Photo)

A view of the Metropolitan "L" crossing the Chicago River on July 10, 1949. We are looking to the northwest.

A view of the Metropolitan “L” crossing the Chicago River on July 10, 1949. We are looking to the northwest.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 32 in Wildwood, New Jersey in 1940. (G. Pilkington Photo)

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 32 in Wildwood, New Jersey in 1940. (G. Pilkington Photo)

CTA 2712 leads a two-car Douglas Park "L" train in the early 1950s. The train is headed towards Marshfield Junction, where Douglas Park, Garfield Park, Logan Square, and Humboldt Park lines converged into the Met "L" main line at Paulina. Construction is underway here for the Congress Expressway. A new north-south connection was built soon after this picture was taken, so that Douglas Park trains could be re-routed downtown via the former Logan Square tracks to a new connection with the Lake Street "L". This allowed the Met main line to be removed east of here in 1954, where the "L" was in the way of the new highway.

CTA 2712 leads a two-car Douglas Park “L” train in the early 1950s. The train is headed towards Marshfield Junction, where Douglas Park, Garfield Park, Logan Square, and Humboldt Park lines converged into the Met “L” main line at Paulina. Construction is underway here for the Congress Expressway. A new north-south connection was built soon after this picture was taken, so that Douglas Park trains could be re-routed downtown via the former Logan Square tracks to a new connection with the Lake Street “L”. This allowed the Met main line to be removed east of here in 1954, where the “L” was in the way of the new highway.

A four-car train of CTA 4000s is (I presume) near Howard in the 1950s. Miles Beitler adds, "Photo aad702a looks like a train of 4000s leaving Howard Street southbound on track 1. If I’m correct that that the overhead wire has been removed and the trolley poles on the 4000s are down, this must be after third rail was installed on track 1, which would date the photo to around 1964 or later."