The Mass Transit Special

Elmhurst. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, Mark Llanuza Collection)

Elmhurst. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, Mark Llanuza Collection)

We continue our recent series on the last days of the fabled Chicago, Aurroa & Elgin interurban with some additional pictures from Mark Llanuza, who writes:

On March 6th 1958, the CA&E saw its first passenger train over the line in eight months. It was dubbed The Mass Transit Special, and it was intended to jump-start the resumption of passenger service.

Aboard were railroad officials and politicians from various communities along the line as well as members of the Illinois Mass Transportation Commission. It was a two-car train set made up of the 417 and one of the St. Louis cars. This train stopped at suburban towns with many people coming out to stand by the CA&E and bring it back to service. Some towns (like Glen Ellyn) had marching bands. Attendance was large in many towns but it wasn’t enough to bring back service. These photos were captured by Bob Gibson.

 

If you would like to read more about why the effort to save the CA&E failed, check out our previous post The CTA, the CA&E, and “Political Influence” (February 18, 2015).

-David Sadowski


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 117th 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 120,000 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.


5th Avenue, Maywood, March 6, 1958. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, Mark Llanuza Collection)

5th Avenue, Maywood, March 6, 1958. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, Mark Llanuza Collection)

5th Avenue, Maywood, March 6, 1958. Notice how the platform extensions have been flipped up to accommodate freight trains. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, Mark Llanuza Collection)

5th Avenue, Maywood, March 6, 1958. Notice how the platform extensions have been flipped up to accommodate freight trains. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, Mark Llanuza Collection)

Elmhurst. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, Mark Llanuza Collection)

Elmhurst. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, Mark Llanuza Collection)

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Glen Ellyn. (Robert W. Gibson, Mark Llanuza Collection)

Glen Ellyn. (Robert W. Gibson, Mark Llanuza Collection)

Glen Ellyn. (Robert W. Gibson, Mark Llanuza Collection)

Glen Ellyn. (Robert W. Gibson, Mark Llanuza Collection)

Main Street, Lombard. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, Mark Llanuza Collection)

Main Street, Lombard.  (Robert W. Gibson Photo, Mark Llanuza Collection)


CA&E Ephemera

Here is an interesting piece of CA&E ephemera– a Car Equipment Defect Report from June 1, 1914. Car number 303 has “leaks all over.”

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One curious thing about this form is the reference to the Chicago Aurora & Elgin Railway. As far as I know, in 1914 it was called the AE&C, before being reorganized into the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin Railroad (not Railway) in the early 1920s.

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At one time, people purchased their electric service directly from the interurban, as seen in these 1918 bills.

At one time, people purchased their electric service directly from the interurban, as seen in these 1918 bills.


New Beginnings for 320

CA&E wood car 320, the last saved car to leave the property, was also the first to operate again in a new location in 1962. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “320 was built by Jewett Car Co in 1914. It was modernized at an unknown date and sold to Iowa Chapter NRHS in 1962. It was transferred to Midwest Electric Railway Museum in 1968.”

From 1962 to 1968, the 320 ran on the Southern Iowa Railway. Again, according to Don’s Rail Photos:

The railroad became home to the Iowa Chapter, NRHS, in the 1950s. Three interurbans were acquired, plus a CGW caboose. In 1958 1.5 miles of the Mystic branch was abandoned. When the Centerville powerhouse was closed, ISU wanted to abandon or sell the line. It was purchased by a local group and became the Southern Industrial RR. In 1966 the wire was removed on the Moravia line and a CB&Q motor car was acquired. The wire remained at Moravia and box motor 101 was stationed there for switching. Also in 1966 the Chariton River trestle burned and the line was severed. The wire at Centerville was removed and service became occasional. The Moravia operation was abandoned on July 18, 1967, and was the final electric operation.

 

Since 1968, the 320 has been restored and now provides service during the Midwest Old Thresher’s Reunion every Labor Day weekend in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

Here are some pictures of the 320 on the Southern Iowa Railway, taken between 1962 and 1964 by the late James D. Johnson:

Madison Street, October 20, 1962. (James D. Johnson Photo)

Madison Street, October 20, 1962. (James D. Johnson Photo)

"Milwaukee, southbound," October 12, 1963. (James D. Johnson Photo)

“Milwaukee, southbound,” October 12, 1963. (James D. Johnson Photo)

(James D. Johnson Photo)

(James D. Johnson Photo)

(James D. Johnson Photo)

(James D. Johnson Photo)

(James D. Johnson Photo)

(James D. Johnson Photo)

(James D. Johnson Photo)

(James D. Johnson Photo)

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Here's another one from the New Dave's Rail Pix.

Here’s another one from the New Dave’s Rail Pix.

Here is another photo from the June 9, 1957 CA&E fantrip we covered in a previous post. We have added the photo there as well:

CA&E 459 at Raymond Street in Elgin, June 9, 1957. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

CA&E 459 at Raymond Street in Elgin, June 9, 1957. (Mark Llanuza Collection)


With so many CA&E cars now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum, it’s fitting to consider IRM’s own interurban origins. The museum’s Main Line was once part of the Elgin & Belvidere Electric, which ran from 1907 to 1930.

For several years after abandonment, the railroad’s cars sat out in the open in Marengo, waiting for buyers that never came.

Again, according to Don Ross:

In 1956, I was checking on ownership of an abandoned C&NW right-of-way for the Illinois Railway Museum, and I stopped in the county clerk’s office in Woodstock. The clerk became curious and then suggested that we might be interested in a piece of property which was on the delinquent tax rolls. It was 50 feet wide and 7 miles long. After paying the taxes for two years, a quit claim was filed and this has become the home of the IRM at Union, IL.

 

According to Don's Rail Photos, "103 provided freight and express service."

According to Don’s Rail Photos, “103 provided freight and express service.”


Space, the Final Frontier

Thanks in part to the generous donations from our readers, we have now solved the space problem caused by the growth of this blog. During our first year, we posted 13gb of files, our entire allotment under a WordPress professional account. When space became tight, we had to figure out some workarounds, posting some of our image files elsewhere.

However, this was not entirely satisfactory, because our readers could not magnify those images for closer scrutiny, as they can with all the ones we upload via WordPress. With this additional upgrade, we now have unlimited storage space, and will not need to worry about running out of space as long as we can continue to make the yearly payments.

We have many exciting things planned for future posts. At any given time, planning for this blog includes having posts for today, tomorrow, next week and next month. We have been keeping many plates spinning in the air, and although from time to time they have threatened to come crashing down, with your help and support, our future looks bright. Watch this space.

-David Sadowski

PS- We thank our readers for giving us 11,428 page views in January 2016. That’s our third-best ever and the fifth month in a row with an increase over the previous one.

The Rider’s Reader

The Rider's Reader was a small four page periodical put out by CTA and distributed via buses, streetcars, and "L" cars between 1948 and 1951.

The Rider’s Reader was a small four page periodical put out by CTA and distributed via buses, streetcars, and “L” cars between 1948 and 1951.

One of the advantages of an electronic book, besides the ease of use on your home computer, is that it can easily be updated when new information becomes available. We have recently obtained14 additional issues of the CTA Rider’s Reader, which was published from 1948 to 1951. In addition, we now have the 1964 CTA rapid transit system track map.

Since we already had two copies of Rider’s Reader before, this brings our collection to 16 out of what appear to be 18 issues in all:

Volume 1, Number 1 – March 1948
Volume 1, Number 2 -May 1948
Volume 1, Number 3 – July-August 1948
Volume 1, Number 4 – October 1948
Volume 1, Number 5 – December 1948
Volume 2, Number 1 – March 1949
Volume 3, Number 1 – May 1949
(appears to be a numbering error– should be Volume 2, Number 2)
Volume 2, Number 3 – August 1949
Volume 2, Number 4 – November 1949
Volume 2, Number 5 – December 1949
Volume 2, Number 6 – February 1950
Volume 3, Number 1 – May 1950
Volume 3, Number 2 – July 1950
Volume 3, Number 3 – October 1950
Volume 3, Number 5 – February 1951
Volume 4, Number 1 – June 1951

The final issue has a very different format than the others, de-emphasizing the Rider’s Reader name, probably suggesting a change in direction at CTA that led to this publication being discontinued. Perhaps it was felt preferable to use flyers that were targeted to more specific topics. It’s been our experience that such publications often include a lot of useful tidbits of information not found elsewhere.

We are still in need of Volume 3, Number 4 – late 1950 or early 1951. If any of our readers can help us fill out our collection, we would be greatly appreciative. (We’re not entirely sure, but there may also have been a Volume 3, Number 6 in early 1951, which would make 19 issues in all. If so, we need that one too.)

High-resolution scans have been made of these issues, and the 14 additional ones have now been added our two E-books that cover the CTA:

Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story – DVD02
The “New Look” in Chicago Transit: 1938-1973 – DVD03

While most of the material on these discs is unique, there is inevitably some overlap between them, there is inevitably some overlap, since CTA publications often covered both the surface system and rapid transit. But in general, DVD02 concentrates on streetcars, while DVD03 favors the rapid transit and buses.

You will find these and other fine products in our Online Store.

Update Service

We haven’t forgotten those who have already purchased these DVD data discs from us. If you bought one of these before, and now wish to have an updated disc, we can send you one for just $5.00 within the United States. Just drop us a line and we can send you an online invoice.

Your other alternative is to download the updated files via Dropbox, a cloud-based file sharing service that you can use for free. That is usually the preferred alternative if you live outside the US.

We will continue to add to both these titles in the future.


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 116th 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 118,000 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.


Some highlights from the Rider’s Reader:

CTA surface system improvements for the second quarter of 1948 included putting PCC streetcars on Madison and 63rd Street. They were already running on Clark-Wentworth and Broadway-State. They would be put on Western Avenue in the third quarter, which involved a partial substitution by buses on the outer ends of the route.

CTA surface system improvements for the second quarter of 1948 included putting PCC streetcars on Madison and 63rd Street. They were already running on Clark-Wentworth and Broadway-State. They would be put on Western Avenue in the third quarter, which involved a partial substitution by buses on the outer ends of the route.

"Another New CTA Bus," in this case, is a trolley bus. These were put into service on Montrose Avenue in late March, 1948.

“Another New CTA Bus,” in this case, is a trolley bus. These were put into service on Montrose Avenue in late March, 1948.

CTA A/B "skip stop" service, introduced on the Lake Street "L" in April 1948, may very well have saved this line from eventual elimination. A/B service was soon expanded to other routes but has since been discontinued.

CTA A/B “skip stop” service, introduced on the Lake Street “L” in April 1948, may very well have saved this line from eventual elimination. A/B service was soon expanded to other routes but has since been discontinued.

The #97 was CTA's first suburban bus route and replaced the Niles Center "L" service on March 27, 1948. Just over 16 years later, however, CTA introduced the Skokie Swift over the same trackage. The #97 bus continued in service.

The #97 was CTA’s first suburban bus route and replaced the Niles Center “L” service on March 27, 1948. Just over 16 years later, however, CTA introduced the Skokie Swift over the same trackage. The #97 bus continued in service.

Artist's rendering of a "flat door" 6000-series "L" car. These were needed to begin service in the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway. As it turned out, deliveries did not begin until 1950 and the subway opened in February 1951.

Artist’s rendering of a “flat door” 6000-series “L” car. These were needed to begin service in the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway. As it turned out, deliveries did not begin until 1950 and the subway opened in February 1951.

Once A/B service was put into effect on the LakeStreet "L" in 1948, CTA considered the Market Street stub terminal unnecessary and it was torn down. At the time, it was also reported that the City of Chicago wanted it removed, probably because it stood in the way of eventual construction of Lower Wacker Drive, which was related to the Congress Expressway project.

Once A/B service was put into effect on the LakeStreet “L” in 1948, CTA considered the Market Street stub terminal unnecessary and it was torn down. At the time, it was also reported that the City of Chicago wanted it removed, probably because it stood in the way of eventual construction of Lower Wacker Drive, which was related to the Congress Expressway project.

9763, the CTA's first and only articulated trolley bus, was termed the "Queen Mary" by fans. It seems to have been a semi-official name since it is called that in an issue of the Rider's Reader. It has since been preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

9763, the CTA’s first and only articulated trolley bus, was termed the “Queen Mary” by fans. It seems to have been a semi-official name since it is called that in an issue of the Rider’s Reader. It has since been preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

In this 1950 diagram, CTA explained why it was sometimes necessary to use switchbacks to prevent the bunching up of streetcars.

In this 1950 diagram, CTA explained why it was sometimes necessary to use switchbacks to prevent the bunching up of streetcars.

The Rider's Reader gave a rundown on the Met "L" bridge over the Chicago River, which was actually two bridges with a total of four tracks. Since this bridge served three lines, service could continue to operate even if something happened to one of the bridges. This river bridge, unlike the others, was operated by CTA and not the city.

The Rider’s Reader gave a rundown on the Met “L” bridge over the Chicago River, which was actually two bridges with a total of four tracks. Since this bridge served three lines, service could continue to operate even if something happened to one of the bridges. This river bridge, unlike the others, was operated by CTA and not the city.

CTA reproduced this Minneapolis Star editorial cartoon in July 1950. We will let the readers decide whether this was indicative of an increasing anti-streetcar sentiment on the part of CTA.

CTA reproduced this Minneapolis Star editorial cartoon in July 1950. We will let the readers decide whether this was indicative of an increasing anti-streetcar sentiment on the part of CTA.

The first train of new 6000-series cars put into service in 1950.

The first train of new 6000-series cars put into service in 1950.

CTA streetcars in the winter of 1950-51. One of our readers says this is "Clark Street looking north around Hubbard."

CTA streetcars in the winter of 1950-51. One of our readers says this is “Clark Street looking north around Hubbard.”

We have three of the four 1948 issues.

We have three of the four 1948 issues.

Five issues came out in 1949.

Five issues came out in 1949.

We have four out of the five issues from 1950.

We have four out of the five issues from 1950.

Only two issues appear to have come out in 1951. The final issue has a completely different format.

Only two issues appear to have come out in 1951. The final issue has a completely different format.

The October 1964 CTA rapid transit track map joins the June 1958 version in two of our publications.

The October 1964 CTA rapid transit track map joins the June 1958 version in two of our publications.

Mystery Photos

Finally, here are a couple of “mystery photos” from downtown Chicago in the late 1920s or early 1930s. If you can help us figure out the locations and what event this might have been, we would appreciate it:

This picture, and the next, appear to have been taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The banners would indicate an event, but we are not sure of the occasion. One of our readers says this is "State and Washington looking south." This could also be circa 1926 at the time of the Eucharistic Congress.

This picture, and the next, appear to have been taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The banners would indicate an event, but we are not sure of the occasion. One of our readers says this is “State and Washington looking south.” This could also be circa 1926 at the time of the Eucharistic Congress.

Our readers have identified this as being "Holy Name Cathedral at State and Chicago." The occasion may be the Eucharistic Congress in 1926.

Our readers have identified this as being “Holy Name Cathedral at State and Chicago.” The occasion may be the Eucharistic Congress in 1926.

Recently, there was another such mystery posed to the Chicagotransit Yahoo group by P. Chavin:

Roughly a quarter of the way down on the web page linked below, at “May 23, 2015 – 6:24 pm”, is a color photo of a streetcar and a wide boulevard. The caption reads: “PHOTO – CHICAGO – DOUGLAS PARK – PULLMAN STREETCAR – 1951 – EDITED FROM AN AL CHIONE IMAGE”

I assume this photo shows a westbound Ogden Ave. car at about S. California Ave. and that the view is northeasterly down Ogden Ave. (Blvd.).

If anyone can confirm or correct my assumption, I’d appreciate it.

https://chuckmanchicagonostalgia.wordpress.com/2015/05/

 

That sounds plausible. There is some evidence in the picture that we are near a park. But what is the explanation for the streetcar taking a jog at this point?

If this is Ogden and California, then there don’t appear to be any of the old buildings left that could be checked against the picture. (PS- I note there are a few pictures on that page that could have been lifted from The Trolley Dodger, but that’s OK.)

P. Chavin:

Thanks, David, for giving it a shot. At least I know my query wasn’t completely underwhelming to the group. The explanation for the streetcar taking a jog could well be that the car was coming off tracks that were on the sides of the wide boulevard but at this point, they were narrowing to a normal middle-of-the-street double track layout.

 

Later, Dennis McClendon came up with a very good answer:

The sun angle, the US34 and US66 signs, the view of the Board of Trade, and the park benches on the left all make me think we’re indeed looking northeast across California. The four-story round-cornered apartment building on the corner matches the fire insurance map.

Why are the tracks shifting from the service drives to the center roadway? My only theory is that the Park District was in charge of the service drives through Douglas Park, but not the original width of Ogden (which predated establishment of the West Parks Commission), and declined to permit the streetcar line to occupy the park service drives. The 1938 and 1953 aerial photos aren’t clear enough to show the tracks.

 


Daniel Joseph
writes:

I rode this part of the Ogden streetcar line many times as a child and can explain the “what” but not the “why”. North east of the location of this photo (which is about mid way between Sacramento and California) the streetcar tracks were in the service drive until Roosevelt Road. East of Ogden on Roosevelt the tracks continued in the service drive until Ashland. On Ogden. west of the location of the photo, the track continued in the center of the street and the service drive was a boulevard until the end at Albany.

 

Ogden and California Avenue today, looking to the northeast.

Ogden and California Avenue today, looking to the northeast.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks. You can leave a comment on this or any other post directly, or you can drop us a line at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

-David Sadowski


PS- Thanks to the generosity of Mark Llanuza, we have added a few more pictures to our previous post Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 1-29-2016:

The CERA fantrip train in Lombard, still just three cars at this point. The date is October 26, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The CERA fantrip train in Lombard, still just three cars at this point. The date is October 26, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The four-car CERA fantrip train at Raymond Street in Elgin. Mark Llanuza says the entire day was cold and rainy, and they had to add a fourth car at Wheaton because of the large number of people on this trip. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The four-car CERA fantrip train at Raymond Street in Elgin. Mark Llanuza says the entire day was cold and rainy, and they had to add a fourth car at Wheaton because of the large number of people on this trip. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

This must be the April 1962 train taking CA&E equipment purchased by RELIC, the predecessor to the Fox River Trolley Museum. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “11 was built by Brill in 1910, (order) #16483. It was rebuilt to a line car in 1947 and replaced 45. It was acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Investment Co in 1962 and came to Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It was lettered as Fox River & Eastern." This picture was taken in Glen Ellyn along the C&NW. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

This must be the April 1962 train taking CA&E equipment purchased by RELIC, the predecessor to the Fox River Trolley Museum. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “11 was built by Brill in 1910, (order) #16483. It was rebuilt to a line car in 1947 and replaced 45. It was acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Investment Co in 1962 and came to Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It was lettered as Fox River & Eastern.” This picture was taken in Glen Ellyn along the C&NW. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The rescue train taking CA&E cars purchased by RELIC through Glen Ellyn. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The rescue train taking CA&E cars purchased by RELIC through Glen Ellyn. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 1-29-2016

Our previous post Trolley Dodgers (January 15, 2016) included a photo of the old Market Street stub terminal in downtown Chicago. Here is another view, probably from the late 1930s. It was torn down in 1948 after the CTA introduced A/B "skip-stop" service on the Lake Street "L", which rendered it unnecessary. (Chicago Transit Authority Photo)

Our previous post Trolley Dodgers (January 15, 2016) included a photo of the old Market Street stub terminal in downtown Chicago. Here is another view, probably from the late 1930s. It was torn down in 1948 after the CTA introduced A/B “skip-stop” service on the Lake Street “L”, which rendered it unnecessary. (Chicago Transit Authority Photo)

The Trolley Dodger mailbag is pretty full today, since we have received a lot of interesting correspondence lately. Mark Llanuza writes:

How did you get so interested in the CA&E?

I have lived in Chicago’s western suburbs pretty much my entire life. I was born in 1954 and therefore never rode the CA&E. As it was, my mother says she only rode it once, in 1946 as part of an outing with other people from the office she worked in downtown.

I know my mother took the Garfield Park “L” downtown when she worked there in 1952-53, after she married to my dad. They lived in Forest Park for a time.

In general, however, after my parents moved to the Mont Clare neighborhood, we took either the Lake Street “L” or the Logan Square line. (Although we lived very close to the Milwaukee Road commuter train, we didn’t ride it that much.)

When it was reported in the press in 1961 that the CA&E would be dismantled forever, my family took a Sunday drive out to Wheaton, where we looked forlornly at the cars in dead storage in the yard. I recall being glad at the time that they had not been vandalized.

When the Illinois Railway Museum began rail operations around 1966, we drove out there to ride the trains. And I have been back many, many times since.

As I grew up, I learned more and more about the CA&E, and am still learning.

Mark continues:

There were three final passenger trips that took place at year’s end in 1958. On Oct 26th the Central Electric Railfans’ Association chartered three cars (with a fourth car added later due to extra loading). It was listed as the last steel car trip and went to Elgin .

The second trip was charted on Nov 21st by a church group, and went from Glen Ellyn to Clintonville station, to the Fox Valley RR club.

The final one was on December 7th 1958, which I sent you many photos of, but I may have some more.

Mark did in fact send us more images, reproduced below. The ones from the final fantrip have also been added to our previous post A Cold Last Ride (January 25, 2016). We thank him for his generosity in sharing them with our readers.

Mark Llanuza's collection of CA&E slides include Kodachromes and Ektachromes. Kodachrome II was an improved version (with the film speed increased to ISO 25) released near the end of 1961. The original photographer's name is not known. (Mark Llanuza Photo)

Mark Llanuza’s collection of CA&E slides include Kodachromes and Ektachromes. Kodachrome II was an improved version (with the film speed increased to ISO 25) released near the end of 1961. The original photographer’s name is not known. (Mark Llanuza Photo)

The CERA fantrip train on the CA&E at Raymond Street, October 26, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection) This is the same curve where several photos were taken during the December trip, where we got them identified as near the Corrugated Box Company.

The CERA fantrip train on the CA&E at Raymond Street, October 26, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection) This is the same curve where several photos were taken during the December trip, where we got them identified as near the Corrugated Box Company.

The CERA fantrip train at 5th Avenue in Maywood, looking east, still just three cars at this point. The date is October 26, 1958 and the photographer was standing at the end of the platform, which is why the position is slightly elevated. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

TThe CERA fantrip train at 5th Avenue in Maywood, looking east, still just three cars at this point. The date is October 26, 1958 and the photographer was standing at the end of the platform, which is why the position is slightly elevated. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

Fifth Avenue in Maywood as it looks today. We are facing east.

Fifth Avenue in Maywood as it looks today. We are facing east.

The four-car CERA fantrip train at Raymond Street in Elgin. Mark Llanuza says the entire day was cold and rainy, and they had to add a fourth car at Wheaton because of the large number of people on this trip. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The four-car CERA fantrip train at Raymond Street in Elgin. Mark Llanuza says the entire day was cold and rainy, and they had to add a fourth car at Wheaton because of the large number of people on this trip. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

320-319 near the Corrugated Box Company on the Elgin branch, December 7, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

320-319 near the Corrugated Box Company on the Elgin branch, December 7, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

320 and engineer at the Lakewood station in West Chicago, December 7, 1958. As the CA&E operations wound down, starting with the abandonment of passenger service in 1957, employees were retained on the basis of seniority. Newer ones were let go while the oldest and longest serving employees remained. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

320 and engineer at the Lakewood station in West Chicago, December 7, 1958. As the CA&E operations wound down, starting with the abandonment of passenger service in 1957, employees were retained on the basis of seniority. Newer ones were let go while the oldest and longest serving employees remained. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

319-320 near the Clintonville Station on the Elgin branch, December 7, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

319-320 near the Clintonville Station on the Elgin branch, December 7, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

Mark also sent us a couple of before and after pictures:

1953 and 2015 compared in South Elgin. (Mark Llanuza Photo)

1953 and 2015 compared in South Elgin. (Mark Llanuza Photo)

1953 and 2015 at Lakewood. (Mark Llanuza Photo)

1953 and 2015 at Lakewood. (Mark Llanuza Photo)


We also came across some CA&E ephemera:

Lucian C. Sprague (1882-1960) was president of the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway from 1935 to 1954, and received this pass from the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin. Officials from various railroads gave each other these sorts of passes as a professional courtesy. The Chicago & North Western bought the Minneapolis and St. Louis in 1960.

Lucian C. Sprague (1882-1960) was president of the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway from 1935 to 1954, and received this pass from the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin. Officials from various railroads gave each other these sorts of passes as a professional courtesy. The Chicago & North Western bought the Minneapolis and St. Louis in 1960.

There was recently some discussion on Facebook regarding CA&E’s extensive use of uncovered third rail without fencing. It was noted that this arrangement had been in place since 1902 and residents of Chicago’s western suburbs were used to it. However, there were various signs warning of the dangers. If the CA&E had survived to the present time, no doubt there would be more protections in place.

This metal sign, said to have been used on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, recently sold on eBay for $280.

This metal sign, said to have been used on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, recently sold on eBay for $280.

caesign2


The CA&E 315 Story

Joel Salomon writes:

Thanks for the recent posting of all the great CA&E pictures on The Trolley Dodger blog. Some really fascinating images in that post.

I am a member and long time volunteer at the Rockhill Trolley Museum in Rockhill Furnace, PA. We have CA&E 315 at our museum and we are in the process of restoring the car to its original condition as built in 1909,or as close as we can make it.

One question that had always wondered me and others at the museum is how did 315 get out of Chicago and are there any photos of the car after the CA&E abandoned operations? We know the car was stored in a CN&W roundhouse for nearly a year and copies of that invoice are enclosed. But the big question is when did 315 leave the CA&E for the last time and are there any photos of that move? We do know when the car was ready to be moved to Pennsylvania the car was placed on a depressed flatcar and the trucks placed in a gondola car and moved to Mt. Union, PA. It was moved by a highway truck 11 miles to the museum site.

Do you know anyone that I might contact to help with this unknown part of the 315 story? I would appreciate knowing anyone that might be able to answer some of these questions or have pictures of 315 during its years on the CA&E as well as after abandonment.

Thanks for your help with these questions.

Thanks for writing. If, as I suspect, you are related to the late Gerhard Salomon, you might like to know I regard him as a hero for all his preservation efforts over the decades. I can only wish I had met the man to thank him personally.

While I do not have immediate answers to your various questions, I am confidant that I can help you find out, with the help of our readers.

One of my recent blog posts mentioned how the 320 (now at Mt. Pleasant) was the only car taken off the property that did not leave via a temporary interchange track with the C&NW.

It may very well be that the 315 left at the same time as some other cars that were saved, especially the ones that were heading east.

With any luck, I hope it will be possible to visit your fine museum sometime this year.

-David Sadowski

Joel Salomon is too modest. He is in fact the president of the museum. The images that follow are courtesy of Joel Salomon and the Rockhill Trolley Museum:

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RTY-PP CAE 315 184

315 flatcar side

RTY 315 Moving to RTM 038

Perhaps somewhat coincidentally, Mark Llaunza writes:

Here are some interesting last CA&E moves from April 1962. An interchange track was built at Wheaton to pick up cars from the yards. Trains were bought over to West Chicago to run around them, and they then headed back to Chicago.

While these photos do not necessarily help answer Mr. Salomon’s question, they do show seven CA&E cars being moved off the property in April 1962. If there were, as I have read, three such trains of cars, with the 320 being handled separately, then perhaps we have a one in three chance that the 315 was part of this train movement.

Since one of the invoices shown above pro-rated the cost for moving the 315 as 1/7th of the total, that would be another indication that it may have been in the group shown in these pictures. There most likely could not have been three such trains, as I recall only around 19 cars were saved. Maybe that improves our odds to 50% or perhaps greater.

The only car whose number I can recognize in these photos is the 303, which originally went to Trolleyville USA in Ohio. However, none of the cars in this photo have curved sides, so the four cars from the 451-460 series, which also went to the Gerald E. Brookins operation, are not among them and would have been moved in a different trip.

The 303 is preserved today at the Connecticut Trolley Museum. The 315 has been owned by the Rockhill group all along.

Update:

Frank Hicks writes:

IRM and RELIC each had their own “hospital train” and the 320 left separately so, by process of elimination, we can figure that the 315 was indeed in the seven-car “eastern museums” train in Mark’s photos. It looks to me like the order was 303-409-319-36-315-308-318.

BINGO! Thanks so much.

PS- The Railway Equipment Leasing and Investment Co. was the predecessor of the Fox River Trolley Museum.

Leaving the Wheaton interchange with the C&NW, April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

Leaving the Wheaton interchange with the C&NW, April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

On the C&NW at Wheaton in April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

On the C&NW at Wheaton in April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The saved CA&E cars on the C&NW in West Chicago, April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The saved CA&E cars on the C&NW in West Chicago, April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The saved CA&E cars on the C&NW in West Chicago, April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The saved CA&E cars on the C&NW in West Chicago, April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

On the C&NW at Western Avenue in April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

On the C&NW at Western Avenue in April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

This must be the March 24, 1962 train taking CA&E equipment purchased by RELIC, the predecessor to the Fox River Trolley Museum. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “11 was built by Brill in 1910, (order) #16483. It was rebuilt to a line car in 1947 and replaced 45. It was acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Investment Co in 1962 and came to Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It was lettered as Fox River & Eastern." This picture was taken in Glen Ellyn along the C&NW. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

This must be the March 24, 1962 train taking CA&E equipment purchased by RELIC, the predecessor to the Fox River Trolley Museum. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “11 was built by Brill in 1910, (order) #16483. It was rebuilt to a line car in 1947 and replaced 45. It was acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Investment Co in 1962 and came to Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It was lettered as Fox River & Eastern.” This picture was taken in Glen Ellyn along the C&NW. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

From www.thegreatthirdrail.org: The end has come for the Roarin’ Elgin. The rails have rusted over and the hallmark of the railroad, the third rail, has already been taken off of the third rail chairs. Fortunately all isn’t lost. On March 24, 1962, we see EJ&E 212 hauling several CA&E cars past the Wheaton station and Main Street to be preserved at RELIC (today’s Fox River Trolley Museum). Photo by TH Desnoyers, from the Krambles-Peterson Archive

From http://www.thegreatthirdrail.org: The end has come for the Roarin’ Elgin. The rails have rusted over and the hallmark of the railroad, the third rail, has already been taken off of the third rail chairs. Fortunately all isn’t lost. On March 24, 1962, we see EJ&E 212 hauling several CA&E cars past the Wheaton station and Main Street to be preserved at RELIC (today’s Fox River Trolley Museum).
Photo by TH Desnoyers, from the Krambles-Peterson Archive

The rescue train taking CA&E cars purchased by RELIC through Glen Ellyn. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The rescue train taking CA&E cars purchased by RELIC through Glen Ellyn. (Mark Llanuza Collection)


The Trolley Motel

Ruth Morgan writes:

There is a thesis at Mississippi State University on Land Use in Starkville. It is about 4 inches thick. I am attaching the pages on a trolley motel which is thought to have been the largest in the world. The trolleys were purchased by Vernon Chesteen from Birmingham and made into his motel prior to building one. It had a nice gas island with a streetcar diner. I located an aerial photo. I write an article for the Starkville paper entitled From Days Past and am trying to verify information. What I send you is true. The motel was on Highway 182 about a block west of town.

I wasn’t able to come up with anything about this Trolley Motel via a Google search. Perhaps my readers might know something more.

On Don’s Rail Photos, there is a page with information on the Birmingham streetcars themselves. Note this part:

Then, in August, 1941, cars 812, 816, 817, 830 thru 833, 835, and 838 were scrapped. A number of these car bodies were saved for non rail use, such as sheds and cabins.

Chances are those were the nine cars that were used for the Trolley Motel and associated diner. There is a picture of one such type car, which is known as a double-truck Birney. These cars were built in 1919 and 1920 by the Cincinnati Car Company, and were originally double-ended. They were eventually converted into single-end cars.

When these trolley cars were taken out of service, the motors, wheels, seats and control equipment would have been removed and saved for use on the remaining cars in that series. The car bodies would have been offered for sale, and would have been especially desirable in the immediate post-WWII era, when there was a housing shortage.

Back in those days, postcards were made of just about anything. It’s quite possible that a picture postcard may exist somewhere showing the Trolley Motel. Perhaps our readers may know something.

Ruth replies:

According to the thesis Lucille Liston Mitlin submitted to MSU to receive her master’s in geology and geography in August 1975, entitled “The Historical Development of Land Use in Starkville Mississippi, a Small University City,” it shows there was not much in the area during her days on campus.

The Trolley Motel was replaced by the University Motel about 1960 and all the “stars” who performed at MSU stayed there, including Johnny Cash. The motel no longer exists. Thank you so much for your research.

(Images below are courtesy of Ruth Morgan.)

This section of a 1975 dissertation describes how nine streetcar bodies from Birmingham, Alabama were used in a "Trolley Motel" in Mississippi. Eight were used as cabins and the ninth was a diner.

This section of a 1975 dissertation describes how nine streetcar bodies from Birmingham, Alabama were used in a “Trolley Motel” in Mississippi. Eight were used as cabins and the ninth was a diner.

An aerial photo, probably from the late 1940s, where you can just barely make out (at right) some of the streetcars in the Trolley Motel.

An aerial photo, probably from the late 1940s, where you can just barely make out (at right) some of the streetcars in the Trolley Motel.

Above is a 1952 MSU annual showing ads for the Gas Island, mentioning the diner and tourists.

Above is a 1952 MSU annual showing ads for the Gas Island, mentioning the diner and tourists.

Ruth sent us another note after this was posted:

THANK YOU! You are to be commended for the excellent job you do. This is the most reliable website I have seen. I talked to Mrs. V. J. Robinson, the sister-in-law of Mrs. Vernon Chesteen (about 90 years old). She remembers the trolley car motel. She said each trolley had 2 rooms so that would have been 16 rooms for the motel. Her two sisters worked in the trolley that was the diner. She is searching for old photos. Her mind is still clear as can be She has fond memories of the trolley car motel. Our town was crowded with students coming to Mississippi State University after the war. We had our largest increase in students during this time. Thank you again.

We are only too glad to help out. It’s worth pointing out that calling a double-truck Birney streetcar the largest in the world is a bit of hyperbole. I’m sure it was large, but of the same general size as plenty of other streetcars.


North Shore Line Abandoned Track?

Our youthful railfan Joey Morrow writes:

Does the North Shore Line have any abandoned track? The Skokie Valley doesn’t count because it was not abandoned when the NSL closed it’s doors. But I’ve found some track from the late 90’s though:

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Skokie Valley? Nope that track was used after the abandonment. But the Shore Line might have some abandoned platforms– the Winnetka platform was still there in 2014. According to (http://www.sarahrothschild.com/real-estate–history-blog/archives/12-2014). The Indian Hill platform was still there in the late 90’s according to http://www.chicagorailfan.com/mpupn.html.
But the tracks… To find both the southbound and the northbound tracks, they weren’t dug up. They were surrounded in concrete almost impossible to notice. But… On 27 Ct. and 52 St. you will see them!

index

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(Be aware this is in July 2012 not 2016) I was so happy I almost started crying! To know that the fate of a few yards of track on the Chicago Aurora and Elgin, would be the same for a few yards of track on the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee! North of this location but before the line turns towards Racine, there might be some more. North of 45th St. I want to check it out, but I don’t live in Kenosha anymore, not even in the Midwest. No where near where I want to be.

Good work, Joey. Perhaps one of our readers can tell us whether your detective work is correct. And in the meantime, keep trying to turn your dreams into your realities. That’s what life is all about.

-David Sadowski

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks. You can either leave a comment on this or any other post, or reach us at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com


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