Seven Years of Good Luck

Now here's something you don't see every day... the 69th Street station on the Normal Park "L", in color. This short branch closed in 1954.

Now here’s something you don’t see every day… the 69th Street station on the Normal Park “L”, in color. This short branch closed in 1954.

For most Chicago-area railfans, January 21, 1963 is a day, to paraphrase Franklin D. Roosevelt, that will “live in infamy,” for that is when the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee, the North Shore Line, breathed its last.

But January 21 is also the date when we started this blog in 2015. This is our seventh anniversary, and I think we have had seven full years of good luck.

In that time, our posts have received 841,000 page views, and over time we have become more and more of a resource for those who are interested in the history of electric traction.

As this is our anniversary post, we pulled out all the stops, and have lots of classic images for you to enjoy. As the 21st is also the 59th anniversary of the North Shore Line abandonment, we have plenty of pictures that pay tribute to that lost interurban.

As we have shared our images with you, you in turn have shared many things with us. We have learned a lot by working together. It has been a great ride here so far, and we can only hope that the next seven years will turn out as well.

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 689 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.

Our Next Book

FYI, I recently made a new book proposal to my publisher and it has been accepted. I signed the agreement on the 18th, and with any luck, it will come out later this year.

There is still a lot of hard work to be done, but I will do my best to produce something that is new and different than that which is already out there, and makes a real contribution to our understanding of the past.

One thing working in my favor is there are plenty of great pictures to choose from, and the subject is already legendary.

Here is a summary:

The North Shore Line

As late as 1963, you could take a high-speed streamlined train from Chicago’s Loop elevated, 90 miles north to Milwaukee. This was the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee, commonly known as the North Shore Line.

From humble beginnings in the 1890s, as a streetcar line in Waukegan, Illinois, the North Shore Line grew to become, in the words of historian William D. Middleton, a “super interurban.” It reached its peak in the 1920s, under Samuel Insull, when the railroad won the prestigious Charles A. Coffin medal no less than three times.

Besides connecting Milwaukee and Chicago, the North Shore Line served Racine, Kenosha, Waukegan, Lake Bluff, Winnetka, Wilmette, and Evanston. A new Skokie Valley Route, built by Insull, opened in 1926 and helped establish Skokie, Glenview, Northfield, and Northbrook.

The railroad had a branch line serving Libertyville and Mundelein, city streetcars in Waukegan and Milwaukee, and was a pioneer in offering “piggyback” freight service.

Hobbled by the Depression and forced into bankruptcy, the North Shore Line rebounded during the war years with two fast new trains called “Electroliners.” It was finally done in by the automobile, highways, and a lack of government subsidies—but it left a remarkable legacy.

Our Annual Fundraiser

Since we started this blog in 2015, we have posted over 13,500 images. This is our 284th post.

Each year, around this time, we must renew our WordPress subscription, our domain registration, and pay other bills associated with maintaining this site, so it is time for our Annual Fundraiser.

The Trolley Dodger blog can only be kept going with the help of our devoted readers. Perhaps you count yourself among them.

If you have already contributed in the past, we thank you very much for your help. Meanwhile, our goal for this fundraiser is just $700, which is only a fraction of what it costs us each year. The rest is made up from either the profits from the items we sell, which are not large, or out of our own pocket, which is not very large either.

There are links at the top and bottom of this page, where you can click and make a donation that will help us meet our goal again for this coming year, so we can continue to offer you more classic images in the future, and keep this good thing we have going.

We thank you in advance for your time and consideration. To date, we have raised $350, which is halfway to our goal. We will also have considerable expenses coming up relating to research for our next book.

Recent Finds

On May 11, 1958, William C. Hoffman took this picture looking north along Halsted at the (then) Congress Expressway. Service on the Garfield Park "L" would continue until June 22nd, when it was replaced by the new Congress rapid transit line at left. A passerby admires the new, as-yet unopened station entrance. The Met "L" here had been four tracks, but two were removed by the time this picture was taken, as they were in the highway footprint. The expressway opened in late 1955 in this area.

On May 11, 1958, William C. Hoffman took this picture looking north along Halsted at the (then) Congress Expressway. Service on the Garfield Park “L” would continue until June 22nd, when it was replaced by the new Congress rapid transit line at left. A passerby admires the new, as-yet unopened station entrance. The Met “L” here had been four tracks, but two were removed by the time this picture was taken, as they were in the highway footprint. The expressway opened in late 1955 in this area.

The old and the new are on display in this 1958 view of the Halsted station on the CTA's Congress median line. In the background, the old Met "L" is still standing, but would soon be demolished.

The old and the new are on display in this 1958 view of the Halsted station on the CTA’s Congress median line. In the background, the old Met “L” is still standing, but would soon be demolished.

North Shore Line 458 heads up a southbound freight train, probably in the early-to-mid 1950s. At first, I thought this location was in Skokie, from the sign on the building. But further research shows this picture was taken in Waukegan, between Washington and Cornelia Streets. The building at right was a former North Shore Line merchandise dispatch (they spelled it "despatch") station, by this time being rented out to a produce dealer. Don's Rail Photos: "458 was built by the Spokane Portland & Seattle in January 1941 as Oregon Electric Ry. 50. It was purchased by the North Shore in December 1947 and was completed as 458 on January 27, 1948."

North Shore Line 458 heads up a southbound freight train, probably in the early-to-mid 1950s. At first, I thought this location was in Skokie, from the sign on the building. But further research shows this picture was taken in Waukegan, between Washington and Cornelia Streets. The building at right was a former North Shore Line merchandise dispatch (they spelled it “despatch”) station, by this time being rented out to a produce dealer. Don’s Rail Photos: “458 was built by the Spokane Portland & Seattle in January 1941 as Oregon Electric Ry. 50. It was purchased by the North Shore in December 1947 and was completed as 458 on January 27, 1948.”

A northbound Electroliner heading away from the photographer in Waukegan, most likely in the early-to-mid 1950s. In the distance, you can see another North Shore car on a side track.

A northbound Electroliner heading away from the photographer in Waukegan, most likely in the early-to-mid 1950s. In the distance, you can see another North Shore car on a side track.

A close-up of the previous image. Zach E. writes: "Regarding the two photos of 458 and the Electroliner at Washington St. in Waukegan. The cars in the background are standard coaches, not MD cars. There was a storage track there often occupied by cars laying over on the east side of the mainline there between Cornelia and Brookside Ave."

A close-up of the previous image. Zach E. writes: “Regarding the two photos of 458 and the Electroliner at Washington St. in Waukegan. The cars in the background are standard coaches, not MD cars. There was a storage track there often occupied by cars laying over on the east side of the mainline there between Cornelia and Brookside Ave.”

CTA PCC 4057 is heading northbound on Western Avenue near Roscoe in June 1956, passing by the entrance to Riverview Park, shortly before the end of streetcar service on Route 49. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA PCC 4057 is heading northbound on Western Avenue near Roscoe in June 1956, passing by the entrance to Riverview Park, shortly before the end of streetcar service on Route 49. (Robert Selle Photo)

The Chicago and Milwaukee Electric was the predecessor of the North Shore Line. Car 133 is at the Kenosha station in this early 1900s view.

The Chicago and Milwaukee Electric was the predecessor of the North Shore Line. Car 133 is at the Kenosha station in this early 1900s view.

The Chicago Aurora and Elgin began using this off-street terminal in Aurora in 1939. This picture was taken from a nearby bridge in 1951.

The Chicago Aurora and Elgin began using this off-street terminal in Aurora in 1939. This picture was taken from a nearby bridge in 1951.

Look at what we have here-- the Turtle Wax Turtle, a local landmark that stood on top of a building at Madison, Ogden, and Ashland from 1956 to 1963. The slide mount dates it to the late 50s, probably 1956-58. And which "L" is this taken from? Well, since it is daylight and it is 9:13, I would say that is AM, and we are looking south from the Lake Street "L" at Ashland. It would have been visible from the Paulina "L", which had closed in 1951, and from the Garfield Park "L", but that structure had already been torn down by 1956. I remember seeing this thing any number of times when I was a kid.

Look at what we have here– the Turtle Wax Turtle, a local landmark that stood on top of a building at Madison, Ogden, and Ashland from 1956 to 1963. The slide mount dates it to the late 50s, probably 1956-58. And which “L” is this taken from? Well, since it is daylight and it is 9:13, I would say that is AM, and we are looking south from the Lake Street “L” at Ashland. It would have been visible from the Paulina “L”, which had closed in 1951, and from the Garfield Park “L”, but that structure had already been torn down by 1956. I remember seeing this thing any number of times when I was a kid.

The Turtle Wax Turtle.

The Turtle Wax Turtle.

One of the two Liberty Liners (ex-Electroliners) on the Norristown High-Speed Line, where they ran from 1964 to 1976.

One of the two Liberty Liners (ex-Electroliners) on the Norristown High-Speed Line, where they ran from 1964 to 1976.

Britton I. Budd (1871-1965) was a talented and able executive who held many responsible positions in the transit industry, including president of the North Shore Line. When Samuel Insull took over the North Shore Line, he tapped Budd to implement a modernization program. And when the line fell into bankruptcy in 1932, Budd became one of the receivers, a position he held until 1937.

Britton I. Budd (1871-1965) was a talented and able executive who held many responsible positions in the transit industry, including president of the North Shore Line. When Samuel Insull took over the North Shore Line, he tapped Budd to implement a modernization program. And when the line fell into bankruptcy in 1932, Budd became one of the receivers, a position he held until 1937.

The North Shore logo from a 1942 timetable.

The North Shore logo from a 1942 timetable.

This appeared on the cover of a 1921 issue of the North Shore Bulletin, a small magazine given out to riders.

This appeared on the cover of a 1921 issue of the North Shore Bulletin, a small magazine given out to riders.

This is part of a number of photos someone took out of the front window of a CTA "L" train in the 1950s, along the Garfield Park line. We have published some of these in previous posts. Not all of them seem to have been taken at the same time. This one appears to be circa 1957, and the location is along the temporary right-of-way in Van Buren Street.

This is part of a number of photos someone took out of the front window of a CTA “L” train in the 1950s, along the Garfield Park line. We have published some of these in previous posts. Not all of them seem to have been taken at the same time. This one appears to be circa 1957, and the location is along the temporary right-of-way in Van Buren Street.

Here, the "L" train the photographer was riding in was descending a ramp towards the ground-level trackage in Van Buren Street. The cross street in the distance is California Avenue. There is a sign on the front of the oncoming train, which I believe indicates which Chicago Aurora and Elgin connecting train riders could catch in Forest Park.

Here, the “L” train the photographer was riding in was descending a ramp towards the ground-level trackage in Van Buren Street. The cross street in the distance is California Avenue. There is a sign on the front of the oncoming train, which I believe indicates which Chicago Aurora and Elgin connecting train riders could catch in Forest Park.

The Garfield Park "L" on Van Buren Street at California Avenue, but this time, circa 1954. The old "L" has already been removed, except for the bridge over a nearby railroad.

The Garfield Park “L” on Van Buren Street at California Avenue, but this time, circa 1954. The old “L” has already been removed, except for the bridge over a nearby railroad.

A close-up of the previous image, showing construction on the nearby railroad embankment that crosses the highway at 2600 West. The old Met "L" bridge had not yet been dismantled.

A close-up of the previous image, showing construction on the nearby railroad embankment that crosses the highway at 2600 West. The old Met “L” bridge had not yet been dismantled.

On the Illinois Railway Museum main line, North Shore Line cars can operate in something approximating their former lives in revenue service prior to the 1963 abandonment. We see car 251 in February 1991. (Mike Raia Photo)

On the Illinois Railway Museum main line, North Shore Line cars can operate in something approximating their former lives in revenue service prior to the 1963 abandonment. We see car 251 in February 1991. (Mike Raia Photo)

Lehigh Valley Transit ran freight as well as passenger service between Allentown, PA and Philadelphia. Even after passenger service was cut back to Norristown in 1949, they continued to operate freight via the Philadelphia and Western. Here we see car C16 in 1950, near the end of its days. Interurban service was abandoned the following year. Don's Rail Photos: "C16 was built by Jewett Car in 1912 as 800. It was rebuilt as C16 in 1935."

Lehigh Valley Transit ran freight as well as passenger service between Allentown, PA and Philadelphia. Even after passenger service was cut back to Norristown in 1949, they continued to operate freight via the Philadelphia and Western. Here we see car C16 in 1950, near the end of its days. Interurban service was abandoned the following year. Don’s Rail Photos: “C16 was built by Jewett Car in 1912 as 800. It was rebuilt as C16 in 1935.”

Lehigh Valley Transit car 1002, circa 1950. Don's Rail Photos: "1002 was built by Cincinnati Car in June 1930, #3050, as C&LE 126. It was sold to LVT as 1002 in 1938 and scrapped in 1952."

Lehigh Valley Transit car 1002, circa 1950. Don’s Rail Photos: “1002 was built by Cincinnati Car in June 1930, #3050, as C&LE 126. It was sold to LVT as 1002 in 1938 and scrapped in 1952.”

A pair of Lehigh Valley Transit cars meet a Philadelphia Bullet car at the Norristown terminal, circa 1951. LVT ceased running their Liberty Bell Limited cars there in 1949, for a variety of reasons. It reduced their expenses, but it probably also reduced revenues as their riders now had to change trains at Norristown. But the LVT cars were getting worn out and there were problems with the motors on the lightweight high-speed interurban cars LVT had acquired from the Cleveland and Lake Erie in 1938. Towards the end, LVT had to rely more and more on their older cars, such as the 700-series ones seen here. To the left (north), there was a ramp descending to ground level. This terminal has since been replaced by a newer one nearby.

A pair of Lehigh Valley Transit cars meet a Philadelphia Bullet car at the Norristown terminal, circa 1951. LVT ceased running their Liberty Bell Limited cars there in 1949, for a variety of reasons. It reduced their expenses, but it probably also reduced revenues as their riders now had to change trains at Norristown. But the LVT cars were getting worn out and there were problems with the motors on the lightweight high-speed interurban cars LVT had acquired from the Cleveland and Lake Erie in 1938. Towards the end, LVT had to rely more and more on their older cars, such as the 700-series ones seen here. To the left (north), there was a ramp descending to ground level. This terminal has since been replaced by a newer one nearby.

The Chicago and North Western station in Evanston, during steam days in the early 1900s.

The Chicago and North Western station in Evanston, during steam days in the early 1900s.

We ran another picture of this scene in a previous post, taken from a different view. The occasion was a Chicago streetcar fantrip using car 2802, and the location is at 63rd and Halsted on the Englewood branch of the "L". There was an off-street area where riders could change for buses to different locations and, in an older era, interurbans as well. I do not know precisely when this picture was taken, but if I had to guess, I would say sometime in the 1940s.

We ran another picture of this scene in a previous post, taken from a different view. The occasion was a Chicago streetcar fantrip using car 2802, and the location is at 63rd and Halsted on the Englewood branch of the “L”. There was an off-street area where riders could change for buses to different locations and, in an older era, interurbans as well. I do not know precisely when this picture was taken, but if I had to guess, I would say sometime in the 1940s.

Here is the other picture we previously ran of car 2802:

C&IT stands for the Chicago & Interurban Traction Company. Don's Rail Photos says, "The Chicago & Interurban Traction Company was incorporated in February 1912, taking over all trackage outside Chicago in March 1912 (all trackage in the City of Chicago went to the Chicago City Railway Company). C&IT interurban service continued from the south side Engelwood Elevated Station at 63rd and Halsted (trackage in Chicago was leased along with the shops at 88th and Vincennes) to Kankakee." Samuel Insull took over the C&IT in 1922 and tried to revive the line, but when the competing Illinois Central elevated much of their line and electrified, the C&IT could not compete and interurban service was abandoned in 1927.

CSL 2802 on a charter, possibly a July 4, 1949 fantrip held by the Electric Railroaders’ Association on various south side lines. Bill Shapotkin writes: “Believe this pic is in the streetcar terminal next to the 63/Halsted ‘L’ station (where the C&IT cars and later busses of South Suburban Safeway and Suburban transit began their runs). View looks east.” M. E. adds, “Bill Shapotkin is correct. This view faces east along 63rd Place on the south side of the 63rd and Halsted (Englewood) L station, which was east of Halsted. One small nit about Bill’s text: The bus lines were named Suburban Transit System and South Suburban Safeway Lines.”
C&IT stands for the Chicago & Interurban Traction Company. Don’s Rail Photos says, “The Chicago & Interurban Traction Company was incorporated in February 1912, taking over all trackage outside Chicago in March 1912 (all trackage in the City of Chicago went to the Chicago City Railway Company). C&IT interurban service continued from the south side Engelwood Elevated Station at 63rd and Halsted (trackage in Chicago was leased along with the shops at 88th and Vincennes) to Kankakee.” Samuel Insull took over the C&IT in 1922 and tried to revive the line, but when the competing Illinois Central elevated much of their line and electrified, the C&IT could not compete and interurban service was abandoned in 1927.

A Wabash Railroad display at the 1948-49 Chicago Railroad Fair along the lakefront.

A Wabash Railroad display at the 1948-49 Chicago Railroad Fair along the lakefront.

The Chicago and Eastern Illinois exhibit at the 1948-49 Chicago Railroad Fair.

The Chicago and Eastern Illinois exhibit at the 1948-49 Chicago Railroad Fair.

North Shore Line combine 255. Don's Rail Photos: "255 was built by Jewett in 1917. It had all of the seats removed in the 1920s to provide a full length baggage car which ran in passenger trains. It was used for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to move equipment to Ravinia. On July 2, 1942, the 40 seats were replaced. Then on December 1, 1946, the seats were again removed. In addition to the Symphony, the car was used for sailors' baggage from Great Lakes." As there are seats visible, this picture dates to circa 1942-46.

North Shore Line combine 255. Don’s Rail Photos: “255 was built by Jewett in 1917. It had all of the seats removed in the 1920s to provide a full length baggage car which ran in passenger trains. It was used for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to move equipment to Ravinia. On July 2, 1942, the 40 seats were replaced. Then on December 1, 1946, the seats were again removed. In addition to the Symphony, the car was used for sailors’ baggage from Great Lakes.” As there are seats visible, this picture dates to circa 1942-46.

Atlantic City Brilliner 215 at a traffic signal, while on private right-of-way, on October 13, 1955, which must be shortly before streetcar service ended there.

Atlantic City Brilliner 215 at a traffic signal, while on private right-of-way, on October 13, 1955, which must be shortly before streetcar service ended there.

Pittsburgh Railways PCC 1262 is on Wood Street in downtown Pittsburgh on September 19, 1962.

Pittsburgh Railways PCC 1262 is on Wood Street in downtown Pittsburgh on September 19, 1962.

Chicago Transit Authority PCC 4321 is on 77th Street on July 30, 1948.

Chicago Transit Authority PCC 4321 is on 77th Street on July 30, 1948.

This is the Ballston Terminal Railroad, which Frank Hicks calls "a fairly unusual little interurban in upstate New York," in the early 1900s. More info here.

This is the Ballston Terminal Railroad, which Frank Hicks calls “a fairly unusual little interurban in upstate New York,” in the early 1900s. More info here.

Here, we see Frank Cheney on CA&E car 434 at the Seashore Trolley Museum on October 12, 1963. From their web site: "No. 434 of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin - "The Great Third Rail" - was outshopped by the Cincinnati Car Company in 1927 as one of a group of 15 ordered shortly after Insull acquired control of the railway. Of all steel construction, the car is 55 feet long overall, is powered by four 140 horsepower motors, and has a seating capacity of 52, including 10 in a smoking compartment. Interior appointments include rotating bucket seats, toilet facilities and neatly finished paneling. The car is equipped with trolley poles that were primarily for yard service and limited street running on the CA&E, since the line used third rail current collection not only on the elevated, but on its own cross country surface routes as well. Moved on its own wheels coupled in a freight train from the CA&E shops in Wheaton, Illinois, to Kennebunk in the fall of 1962, No. 434 was trucked to the Museum in the spring of 1963 and was quickly readied for operation, given its good condition."

Here, we see Frank Cheney on CA&E car 434 at the Seashore Trolley Museum on October 12, 1963. From their web site: “No. 434 of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin – “The Great Third Rail” – was outshopped by the Cincinnati Car Company in 1927 as one of a group of 15 ordered shortly after Insull acquired control of the railway. Of all steel construction, the car is 55 feet long overall, is powered by four 140 horsepower motors, and has a seating capacity of 52, including 10 in a smoking compartment. Interior appointments include rotating bucket seats, toilet facilities and neatly finished paneling. The car is equipped with trolley poles that were primarily for yard service and limited street running on the CA&E, since the line used third rail current collection not only on the elevated, but on its own cross country surface routes as well. Moved on its own wheels coupled in a freight train from the CA&E shops in Wheaton, Illinois, to Kennebunk in the fall of 1962, No. 434 was trucked to the Museum in the spring of 1963 and was quickly readied for operation, given its good condition.”

North Shore Line car 168 is in North Chicago, being stored after abandonment, on October 19, 1963. It was built by Jewett in 1917. It did not survive.

North Shore Line car 168 is in North Chicago, being stored after abandonment, on October 19, 1963. It was built by Jewett in 1917. It did not survive.

Some of these interurban cars sure got around after they were retired from their original roads. Here we see North Shore Line car 411 on the Long Island Railroad. Don's Rail Photos: "411 was built as a trailer observation car by Cincinnati Car in June 1923 #2640. It was out of service in 1932. 411 It was rebuilt as a two motor coach by closing in the open platform and changing the seating on February 25, 1943, and sold to Trolley Museum of New York in 1963. It was sold to Wisconsin Electric Railway & Historical Society in 1973 and sold to Escanaba & Lake Superior in 1989."

Some of these interurban cars sure got around after they were retired from their original roads. Here we see North Shore Line car 411 on the Long Island Railroad. Don’s Rail Photos: “411 was built as a trailer observation car by Cincinnati Car in June 1923 #2640. It was out of service in 1932. 411 It was rebuilt as a two motor coach by closing in the open platform and changing the seating on February 25, 1943, and sold to Trolley Museum of New York in 1963. It was sold to Wisconsin Electric Railway & Historical Society in 1973 and sold to Escanaba & Lake Superior in 1989.”

An 0-series Shinkansen "Bullet" train in Tokyo, Japan in June 1968. The North Shore Line's Electroliners influenced the design of these high-speed trains.

An 0-series Shinkansen “Bullet” train in Tokyo, Japan in June 1968. The North Shore Line’s Electroliners influenced the design of these high-speed trains.

This is the Downey's station (West Great Lakes) in October 1961.

This is the Downey’s station (West Great Lakes) in October 1961.

I assume this may also be at Downeys, in October 1961.

I assume this may also be at Downeys, in October 1961.

Sailors and others aboard a North Shore Line train in October 1961.

Sailors and others aboard a North Shore Line train in October 1961.

A builder's photo of Chicago and Milwaukee Electric (later the North Shore Line) car 305. 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."

A builder’s photo of Chicago and Milwaukee Electric (later the North Shore Line) car 305. 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 streetcar 510. Don's Rail Photos: "510 and 511 were not really city cars, but were purchased for use on the Mundelein line. They were typical Cincinnati Car lightweights built in 1922. After more of the steel interurbans were received in the next few years, they were replaced by the heavy cars which were thru routed to Chicago. The cars were stored until they were scrapped in 1940."

North Shore Line streetcar 510. Don’s Rail Photos: “510 and 511 were not really city cars, but were purchased for use on the Mundelein line. They were typical Cincinnati Car lightweights built in 1922. After more of the steel interurbans were received in the next few years, they were replaced by the heavy cars which were thru routed to Chicago. The cars were stored until they were scrapped in 1940.”

North Shore Line wood car 301 at the Highwood Shops in the 1930s. 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. 301 and 302 were retired in 1939 and scrapped in 1940." (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

North Shore Line wood car 301 at the Highwood Shops in the 1930s. 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. 301 and 302 were retired in 1939 and scrapped in 1940.” (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

North Shore Line Birney car 334 in Milwaukee. Don's Rail Photos: "334 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in December 1922, #2625. It was retired in 1947 and scrapped in April 1948." (Donald Ross Photo)

North Shore Line Birney car 334 in Milwaukee. Don’s Rail Photos: “334 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in December 1922, #2625. It was retired in 1947 and scrapped in April 1948.” (Donald Ross Photo)

North Shore Line electric loco 458 at the Highwood Shops on September 3, 1963, several months after abandonment. None of the NSL locos were saved, due to the high scrap value they had. (Bill Volkmer Photo)

North Shore Line electric loco 458 at the Highwood Shops on September 3, 1963, several months after abandonment. None of the NSL locos were saved, due to the high scrap value they had. (Bill Volkmer Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin wood car 137 at the Wheaton Shops on August 6, 1939, during which time it was leased from the North Shore Line. There were several such cars that were purchased by the CA&E in 1946, making them the last passenger cars acquired by the interurban. It was built by the Jewett Car Company in 1907. (La Mar M. Kelley Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin wood car 137 at the Wheaton Shops on August 6, 1939, during which time it was leased from the North Shore Line. There were several such cars that were purchased by the CA&E in 1946, making them the last passenger cars acquired by the interurban. It was built by the Jewett Car Company in 1907. (La Mar M. Kelley Photo)

Recent Correspondence

Doug Iverson writes:

David, just heard about your latest adventure into the publishing arena. Hope everything goes well. I would be honored and extremely pleased if you could use this photo of my dad heading to board the North Shore in Racine in the 1940s.

My dad’s name was Nathan Norman Iverson. He was born in Forks, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula and traveled to Racine on the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad better known as The Milwaukee Road. As he did most of his traveling during the depression he “rode the rails” trying to cure his wanderlust. In Racine he met my mother and she calmed his wandering spirit. He loved to travel. He always said “Traveling was always more fun than being there.”

I grew up in Racine with The North Shore flying through town in both directions every hour on the half hour.

Thanks for sharing! A remarkable story.

Marty Robinson writes:

Thanks David for your anniversary post. It elicited several memories for me: riding the North Shore Line from Downey into Chicago numerous times while at Great Lakes in 1950/51 at boot camp and electronics school. And a mention of the Railroad Fair, where I worked as a 16-year-old as a conductor on the Deadwood Central.

Glad you enjoyed it, thanks! Marty is front row, center in this 1948 photo from the Chicago Railroad Fair.

Did Not Win

Resources are limited, and we can’t win all the auctions for interesting pictures. Here are some that are still worth another look:

The interior of a Silverliner in 1963.

The interior of a Silverliner in 1963.

This is apparently a Chicago area train, but which one? The type of slide mount would indicate a date in the range 1955-58. But the headline visible, on a copy of the Chicago Daily News, refers to the selection of a site for the University of Illinois campus in Chicago. That determination was not made final until 1961. It's been suggested that this may be the GM&O, but it could also be a Chicago & North Western train known as The 400, which ran between Chicago and Minneapolis. The 400 got its name because the travel time between cities was about 400 minutes. At any rate, it's an air conditioned car. Mitch Markovitz: "Regarding the parlor car interior. It’s definitely the interior of GM&O parlor “Bloomington,” and not a C&NW parlor. C&NW parlors had parlor chairs from Coach and Car, and the chairs seen in the photo are those from Heywood-Wakefield, in the “Sleepy Hallow model.”"

This is apparently a Chicago area train, but which one? The type of slide mount would indicate a date in the range 1955-58. But the headline visible, on a copy of the Chicago Daily News, refers to the selection of a site for the University of Illinois campus in Chicago. That determination was not made final until 1961. It’s been suggested that this may be the GM&O, but it could also be a Chicago & North Western train known as The 400, which ran between Chicago and Minneapolis. The 400 got its name because the travel time between cities was about 400 minutes. At any rate, it’s an air conditioned car. Mitch Markovitz: “Regarding the parlor car interior. It’s definitely the interior of GM&O parlor “Bloomington,” and not a C&NW parlor. C&NW parlors had parlor chairs from Coach and Car, and the chairs seen in the photo are those from Heywood-Wakefield, in the “Sleepy Hallow model.””

The original Kedzie Avenue station on the Ravenswood "L" (today's CTA Brown Line) in the early 1970s, not long before it was damaged by fire. We are looking west.

The original Kedzie Avenue station on the Ravenswood “L” (today’s CTA Brown Line) in the early 1970s, not long before it was damaged by fire. We are looking west.

Trolleys to Milwaukee by John Gruber

A copy of this long out-of-print 32-page book is being offered for sale on eBay for $50. One of the fans on the Facebook North Shore Line group lives in Australia and is interested in this book, but international shipping is expensive. So I offered to scan my copy for their benefit. You might enjoy it too.

John E. Gruber (1936-2018) was a notable and very talented photographer, as evidenced in these very striking pictures.

A Guide to the Railroad Record Club E-Book

William A. Steventon recording the sounds of the North Shore Line in April 1956. (Kenneth Gear Collection)

William A. Steventon recording the sounds of the North Shore Line in April 1956. (Kenneth Gear Collection)

Our good friend Ken Gear has been hard at work on collecting all things related to the late William Steventon’s railroad audio recordings and releases. The result is a new book on disc, A Guide To the Railroad Record Club. This was quite a project and labor of love on Ken’s part!

Kenneth Gear has written and compiled a complete history of William Steventon‘s Railroad Record Club, which issued 42 different LPs of steam, electric, and diesel railroad audio, beginning with its origins in 1953.

This “book on disc” format allows us to present not only a detailed history of the club and an updated account of Kenneth Gear’s purchase of the William Steventon estate, but it also includes audio files, photo scans and movie files. Virtually all the Railroad Record Club archive is gathered in one place!

Price: $19.99

$10 from the sale of each RRC E-Book will go to Kenneth Gear to repay him for some of his costs in saving this important history.

Now Available on Compact Disc:

RRC08D
Railroad Record Club #08 Deluxe Edition: Canadian National: Canadian Railroading in the Days of Steam, Recorded by Elwin Purington
The Complete Recording From the Original Master Tapes
Price: $15.99

Kenneth Gear‘s doggedness and determination resulted in his tracking down and purchasing the surviving RRC master tapes a few years back, and he has been hard at work having them digitized, at considerable personal expense, so that you and many others can enjoy them with today’s technology. We have already released a few RRC Rarities CDs from Ken’s collection.

When Ken heard the digitized version of RRC LP #08, Canadian National: Canadian Railroading in the Days of Steam, recorded by the late Elwin Purington, he was surprised to find the original tapes were more than twice the length of the 10″ LP. The resulting LP had been considerably edited down to the limited space available, 15 minutes per side.

The scenes were the same, but each was greatly shortened. Now, on compact disc, it is possible to present the full length recordings of this classic LP, which was one of Steventon’s best sellers and an all-around favorite, for the very first time.

Canadian National. Steaming giants pound high iron on mountain trails, rumble over trestles, hit torpedos and whistle for many road crossings. Mountain railroading with heavy power and lingering whistles! Includes locomotives 3566, 4301, 6013, 3560.

Total time – 72:57

$5 from the sale of RRC08D CD will go to Kenneth Gear to repay him for some of his costs in saving this important history.

Chicago’s Lost “L”s Online Presentation

We recently gave an online presentation about our book Chicago’s Lost “L”s for the Chicago Public Library, as part of their One Book, One Chicago series. You can watch it online by following this link.

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We appeared on the Dave Plier Show on WGN radio on July 16, 2021, to discuss Chicago’s Lost “L”s. You can hear that discussion here.

Our Latest Book, Now Available:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

From the back cover:

Chicago’s system of elevated railways, known locally as the “L,” has run continuously since 1892 and, like the city, has never stood still. It helped neighborhoods grow, brought their increasingly diverse populations together, and gave the famous Loop its name. But today’s system has changed radically over the years. Chicago’s Lost “L”s tells the story of former lines such as Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Kenwood, Stockyards, Normal Park, Westchester, and Niles Center. It was once possible to take high-speed trains on the L directly to Aurora, Elgin, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The L started out as four different companies, two starting out using steam engines instead of electricity. Eventually, all four came together via the Union Loop. The L is more than a way of getting around. Its trains are a place where people meet and interact. Some say the best way to experience the city is via the L, with its second-story view. Chicago’s Lost “L”s is virtually a “secret history” of Chicago, and this is your ticket. David Sadowski grew up riding the L all over the city. He is the author of Chicago Trolleys and Building Chicago’s Subways and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog.

The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

Title Chicago’s Lost “L”s
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2021
ISBN 1467100007, 9781467100007
Length 128 pages

Chapters:
01. The South Side “L”
02. The Lake Street “L”
03. The Metropolitan “L”
04. The Northwestern “L”
05. The Union Loop
06. Lost Equipment
07. Lost Interurbans
08. Lost Terminals
09. Lost… and Found

Each copy purchased here will be signed by the author, and you will also receive a bonus facsimile of a 1926 Chicago Rapid Transit Company map, with interesting facts about the “L” on the reverse side.

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

NEW DVD:

A Tribute to the North Shore Line

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the demise of the fabled North Shore Line interurban in January 2013, Jeffrey L. Wien and Bradley Criss made a very thorough and professional video presentation, covering the entire route between Chicago and Milwaukee and then some. Sadly, both men are gone now, but their work remains, making this video a tribute to them, as much as it is a tribute to the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee.

Jeff drew on his own vast collections of movie films, both his own and others such as the late William C. Hoffman, wrote and gave the narration. Bradley acted as video editor, and added authentic sound effects from archival recordings of the North Shore Line.

It was always Jeff’s intention to make this video available to the public, but unfortunately, this did not happen in his lifetime. Now, as the caretakers of Jeff’s railfan legacy, we are proud to offer this excellent two-hour program to you for the first time. The result is a fitting tribute to what Jeff called his “Perpetual Adoration,” which was the name of a stop on the interurban.

Jeff was a wholehearted supporter of our activities, and the proceeds from the sale of this disc will help defray some of the expenses of keeping the Trolley Dodger web site going.

Total time – 121:22

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.99 (Includes shipping within the United States)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

This is our 284th 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 841,000 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.
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Loose Ends, Part Two

Now here is a very unusual view, taken on April 14, 1957 from the wooden trestle used by Garfield Park "L" trains to loop around at Forest Park circa 1953-59. This arrangement was necessary due to the separation of CTA and CA&E tracks, when the latter cut back service due to the Congress Expressway construction project in the city. Interurban trains turned on a loop between the CTA tracks on the east side of the terminal, while CTA trains went up and over the CA&E on the west end. To get this picture, the photographer either had to be inside a train, or on the walkway. This is only the second such picture I have seen, and the view looks to the north. In the background, you can see the Chicago Great Western freight tracks, abandoned in the early 1970s. The terminal area has been redone twice since then, and the buildings at right in the background are where a parking lot is now. The Altenheim retirement home (at left), built in 1886, is still there today at 7824 W. Madison Street. A two-car train of CTA "Baldy" 4000s negotiates the loop.

Now here is a very unusual view, taken on April 14, 1957 from the wooden trestle used by Garfield Park “L” trains to loop around at Forest Park circa 1953-59. This arrangement was necessary due to the separation of CTA and CA&E tracks, when the latter cut back service due to the Congress Expressway construction project in the city. Interurban trains turned on a loop between the CTA tracks on the east side of the terminal, while CTA trains went up and over the CA&E on the west end. To get this picture, the photographer either had to be inside a train, or on the walkway. This is only the second such picture I have seen, and the view looks to the north. In the background, you can see the Chicago Great Western freight tracks, abandoned in the early 1970s. The terminal area has been redone twice since then, and the buildings at right in the background are where a parking lot is now. The Altenheim retirement home (at left), built in 1886, is still there today at 7824 W. Madison Street. A two-car train of CTA “Baldy” 4000s negotiates the loop.

Here are more “loose ends” for your enjoyment. Most of today’s pictures were scanned a year ago as part of a much larger batch, and are from the collections of William Shapotkin, for which we are most grateful. Most of these are classic black-and-white pictures of Chicago Surface Lines streetcars.

If you have questions, comments, or additional information about any of the locations in these pictures, we would love to hear from you. As always, please refer to each image by its file name, which you can find by hovering your computer mouse over it. (For example, the image at the top of this post is rbk501.) As of July 22nd, thanks to our readers, we have updated the captions on 20 of these photos.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

Recent Finds

What is known today as the East Troy Electric Railroad survived to the present day due to its continued use as an electric freight line, as this scene from April 16, 1965 shows. Once part of the TMER&L interurban network, there was passenger service between East Troy and Milwaukee from 1907 to 1939. The railroad continued to operated freight for another ten years after that, and starting in 1950, the interchange line was owned and operated by East Troy. Museum operations began to be phased in as early as 1967. Here, we see line car M-15 at Mukwonago. This car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

What is known today as the East Troy Electric Railroad survived to the present day due to its continued use as an electric freight line, as this scene from April 16, 1965 shows. Once part of the TMER&L interurban network, there was passenger service between East Troy and Milwaukee from 1907 to 1939. The railroad continued to operated freight for another ten years after that, and starting in 1950, the interchange line was owned and operated by East Troy. Museum operations began to be phased in as early as 1967. Here, we see line car M-15 at Mukwonago. This car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

CSL PCC 4062, on its way toward delivery from the Pullman plant in Massachusetts to Chicago in 1946, as the city's first postwar streetcar.

CSL PCC 4062, on its way toward delivery from the Pullman plant in Massachusetts to Chicago in 1946, as the city’s first postwar streetcar.

Through a process of elimination, it can be determined that this is a rare photo of the interior of experimental CSL pre-PCC car 7001, built by Brill in 1934. The Cottage Grove destination sign means we are in Chicago, and the seat configuration is different than the 1936 PCCs. The flat back window means this is not the 4001, so this is the 7001 for sure. Interestingly, the seats looks nearly identical to those found in Washington DC pre-PCC 1053 (see the following picture). The Washington cars were built in 1935 and while the order was split between Brill and St. Louis Car Company, the seats were most likely sourced from a third vendor and were the same in all those cars (and unfortunately, none exist today).

Through a process of elimination, it can be determined that this is a rare photo of the interior of experimental CSL pre-PCC car 7001, built by Brill in 1934. The Cottage Grove destination sign means we are in Chicago, and the seat configuration is different than the 1936 PCCs. The flat back window means this is not the 4001, so this is the 7001 for sure. Interestingly, the seats looks nearly identical to those found in Washington DC pre-PCC 1053 (see the following picture). The Washington cars were built in 1935 and while the order was split between Brill and St. Louis Car Company, the seats were most likely sourced from a third vendor and were the same in all those cars (and unfortunately, none exist today).

Here are some pictures we previously posted of 7001 and 1053:

The experimental Brill-built pre-PCC 7001 as it appeared at 77th and Vincennes on September 10, 1959, shortly before it was scrapped. (Clark Frazier Photo)

The experimental Brill-built pre-PCC 7001 as it appeared at 77th and Vincennes on September 10, 1959, shortly before it was scrapped. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit pre-PCC streamlined streetcar at the National Capital Trolley Museum in 1993. Part of a 20-car order in 1935, split between Brill and St Louis Car Company. This is a St. Louis Car Company product. Sadly this car was lost to a carbarn fire at the museum in 2003. (John Smatlak Photo)

DC Transit pre-PCC streamlined streetcar at the National Capital Trolley Museum in 1993. Part of a 20-car order in 1935, split between Brill and St Louis Car Company. This is a St. Louis Car Company product. Sadly this car was lost to a carbarn fire at the museum in 2003. (John Smatlak Photo)

1053 interior. (John Smatlak Photo)

1053 interior. (John Smatlak Photo)

1053 interior. (John Smatlak Photo)

1053 interior. (John Smatlak Photo)

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

CSL 6226 at Damen and 63rd in 1944.

CSL 6226 at Damen and 63rd in 1944.

CSL 6073 at Roosevelt and Wabash.

CSL 6073 at Roosevelt and Wabash.

CSL prewar PCC 4002 at Kedzie Station, pulling in after operating on the Madison-Fifth line.

CSL prewar PCC 4002 at Kedzie Station, pulling in after operating on the Madison-Fifth line.

CSL 6148.

CSL 6148.

CSL 1812, signed for Adams-Downtown.

CSL 1812, signed for Adams-Downtown.

CSL 6122,

CSL 6122,

CSL 1545.

CSL 1545.

CSL 1859 is near a construction site. But the extreme contrast of this picture offers no clue to the location. Andre Kristopans: "1859 at construction site WB on Adams at Clinton." Marty Robinson adds, "This improved view clearly show Adams on the street sign, and the sign on the building to the left says Franklin Bowling."

CSL 1859 is near a construction site. But the extreme contrast of this picture offers no clue to the location. Andre Kristopans: “1859 at construction site WB on Adams at Clinton.” Marty Robinson adds, “This improved view clearly show Adams on the street sign, and the sign on the building to the left says Franklin Bowling.”

CSL 3180.

CSL 3180.

CSL 3123 at Cermak and Prairie, east end of the Cermak route.

CSL 3123 at Cermak and Prairie, east end of the Cermak route.

CSL 2617.

CSL 2617.

CSL 6235 on the South Chicago-Ewing route. Mike adds, "6235 is heading south on Ewing just past 94th. The bar in the background still exists."

CSL 6235 on the South Chicago-Ewing route. Mike adds, “6235 is heading south on Ewing just past 94th. The bar in the background still exists.”

CSL 392 is heading to 74th and Ashland.

CSL 392 is heading to 74th and Ashland.

CSL 6243 on the Pershing Road line.

CSL 6243 on the Pershing Road line.

CSL 6248 is on the South Chicago-Ewing route. Mike adds, "6248 is heading north on Ewing across the 92nd St. Bridge. The tower in the background is visible in the photo of 6235, too. The blast furnaces of Youngstown Sheet & Tube are visible at left."

CSL 6248 is on the South Chicago-Ewing route. Mike adds, “6248 is heading north on Ewing across the 92nd St. Bridge. The tower in the background is visible in the photo of 6235, too. The blast furnaces of Youngstown Sheet & Tube are visible at left.”

CSL 793, signed to go to Damen and Blue Island, is near Diamond Lil's Tavern. Mike adds, "793 is at the corner of 18th & Damen – the Diamond Lil’s building is still standing."

CSL 793, signed to go to Damen and Blue Island, is near Diamond Lil’s Tavern. Mike adds, “793 is at the corner of 18th & Damen – the Diamond Lil’s building is still standing.”

CSL 3120 on a 1940s charter. Mike adds, "3120 is at the corner of 79th & Vincennes. The building in the background recently burned down and was demolished."

CSL 3120 on a 1940s charter. Mike adds, “3120 is at the corner of 79th & Vincennes. The building in the background recently burned down and was demolished.”

CSL 5723,

CSL 5723,

51st and South Park, circa 1929. The Willard Theater was located at 340 E. 51st Street. It closed in the 1950s, and the building is now used as a church and community center.

51st and South Park, circa 1929. The Willard Theater was located at 340 E. 51st Street. It closed in the 1950s, and the building is now used as a church and community center.

South Chicago and 93rd.

CSL 3266, running on the 59th-61st Street route. Mike adds, "3266 is heading south on Blackstone from 60th. The street has been vacated and none of the buildings remain."

CSL 3266, running on the 59th-61st Street route. Mike adds, “3266 is heading south on Blackstone from 60th. The street has been vacated and none of the buildings remain.”

The interior of CSL 1400.

The interior of CSL 1400.

CSL 1616 heads west on Lake Street in the 1940s, with the Lake Street "L" station at Laramie in the background. The "L" went down an inclined ramp and ran on the surface to Forest Park, and paralleled the streetcar line for a few blocks.

CSL 1616 heads west on Lake Street in the 1940s, with the Lake Street “L” station at Laramie in the background. The “L” went down an inclined ramp and ran on the surface to Forest Park, and paralleled the streetcar line for a few blocks.

CSL 4035, in an experimental color scheme, at Madison and Austin circa 1945-46. Several different designs were tried out just prior to the arrival of the 600 postwar PCCs, but the design chosen was not exactly like any of these.

CSL 4035, in an experimental color scheme, at Madison and Austin circa 1945-46. Several different designs were tried out just prior to the arrival of the 600 postwar PCCs, but the design chosen was not exactly like any of these.

State and Randolph, June 18, 1942.

CSL 4018 in an experimental paint scheme circa 1945-46. This is the Madison-Austin loop, west end of Route 20.

CSL 4018 in an experimental paint scheme circa 1945-46. This is the Madison-Austin loop, west end of Route 20.

CSL 6149 is southbound at Halsted and Chicago.

CSL 6149 is southbound at Halsted and Chicago.

CSL 6135 at Pershing and Ashland.

CSL 6135 at Pershing and Ashland.

CSL 3099. Mike: "3099 is at the corner of Leavitt and Coulter. The corner building still stands."

CSL 3099. Mike: “3099 is at the corner of Leavitt and Coulter. The corner building still stands.”

CSL 5733.

CSL 5733.

CSL 5612. Mike adds, "5612 is heading west on 56th from Stony Island. Bret Harte School is at left and in background are both the older and newer wings of the Windermere Hotel."

CSL 5612. Mike adds, “5612 is heading west on 56th from Stony Island. Bret Harte School is at left and in background are both the older and newer wings of the Windermere Hotel.”

CSL 1841. Not sure where Burny's Grill, at right, was located.

CSL 1841. Not sure where Burny’s Grill, at right, was located.

CSL 1836, signed to go to Van Buren and Dearborn.

CSL 1836, signed to go to Van Buren and Dearborn.

The interior of CSL 1218.

The interior of CSL 1218.

Chicago & West Towns 165, signed for Melrose Park. I am wondering if this could be on Lake Street in Maywood.

Chicago & West Towns 165, signed for Melrose Park. I am wondering if this could be on Lake Street in Maywood.

SF Muni double-end PCC 1008.

SF Muni double-end PCC 1008.

Chicago & West Towns 164 is eastbound on Lake Street in Oak Park, near Austin Boulevard.

Chicago & West Towns 164 is eastbound on Lake Street in Oak Park, near Austin Boulevard.

CSL 3286. Is this the interior of Kedzie Station?

CSL 3286. Is this the interior of Kedzie Station?

CSL 6221. Andre Kristopans: "6221 nb on S Chicago at 79th/ Stony Island."

CSL 6221. Andre Kristopans: “6221 nb on S Chicago at 79th/ Stony Island.”

CSL 1875. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Mike Franklin adds, "Car 1875 is westbound on Harrison and appears to be turning northbound on Halsted. Camera is looking NE from Blue Island Ave."

CSL 1875. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Mike Franklin adds, “Car 1875 is westbound on Harrison and appears to be turning northbound on Halsted. Camera is looking NE from Blue Island Ave.”

CSL 5746 in July 1946.

CSL 5746 in July 1946.

CSL 5724 on the South Deering route.

CSL 5724 on the South Deering route.

CSL 5737.

CSL 5737.

CSL 3174, signed for Through Route 8 (Halsted).

CSL 3174, signed for Through Route 8 (Halsted).

CSL 1522.

CSL 1522.

CSL 6143 at Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago, heading north.

CSL 6143 at Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago, heading north.

CSL 5941. S. Terman adds, "5941 is at North/Cicero carbarn."

CSL 5941. S. Terman adds, “5941 is at North/Cicero carbarn.”

CSL 1602 under the "L" (Lake Street... or 63rd?). M.E.: "I thought I read someplace that streetcars on Lake St. had to be narrower than normal because the tracks were closer together than normal because the L support beams were so close to the tracks. That, in turn, meant the auto lanes were outside the L structure. So I suspect this picture shows 63rd St. under the Jackson Park L." On the other hand, Mike writes, "1602 is on Lake near Sangamon (the street sign is half visible at far left). That is most likely the Morgan St. station for the Lake Street elevated train in the background."

CSL 1602 under the “L” (Lake Street… or 63rd?). M.E.: “I thought I read someplace that streetcars on Lake St. had to be narrower than normal because the tracks were closer together than normal because the L support beams were so close to the tracks. That, in turn, meant the auto lanes were outside the L structure. So I suspect this picture shows 63rd St. under the Jackson Park L.” On the other hand, Mike writes, “1602 is on Lake near Sangamon (the street sign is half visible at far left). That is most likely the Morgan St. station for the Lake Street elevated train in the background.”

5243 at Randolph and State. From the looks of things, this might predate the creation of the Chicago Surface Lines.

5243 at Randolph and State. From the looks of things, this might predate the creation of the Chicago Surface Lines.

CSL 5819 at Cottage Grove and 115th.

CSL 5819 at Cottage Grove and 115th.

CSL 3191 at Clark and LaSalle.

CSL 3191 at Clark and LaSalle.

CSL 3041 at Montrose and Milwaukee (west end of the Montrose line). S. Terman adds, "Since 3041 brill is a 2 man car, its looks odd as Montrose is 1 man operation unless its a school trip." Thanks to Steve D. for correcting this location (we had thought it was Montrose and Broadway, which is how the photo was marked, see his Comment.) The view looks northwest. He speculates that there was a delay on Elston, and a two-man car from that line was diverted onto west Montrose.

CSL 3041 at Montrose and Milwaukee (west end of the Montrose line). S. Terman adds, “Since 3041 brill is a 2 man car, its looks odd as Montrose is 1 man operation unless its a school trip.” Thanks to Steve D. for correcting this location (we had thought it was Montrose and Broadway, which is how the photo was marked, see his Comment.) The view looks northwest. He speculates that there was a delay on Elston, and a two-man car from that line was diverted onto west Montrose.

The same location today.

The same location today.

CSL 1415 at Laramie and Lake, near the Lake Street "L".

CSL 1415 at Laramie and Lake, near the Lake Street “L”.

CRT 4069 is, I believe northbound at Chicago Avenue, running as a Ravenswood Express sometime between 1943 and 1949, a period when the Rave was routed through the new State Street Subway. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo) M.E.: "As your caption says, the Ravenswood ran in the State St. subway til 1949. And then it ran through to Englewood. After 1949, when the CTA implemented A and B skip-stop service, Englewood trains went instead to Howard St., and the Ravenswood got its own service using the original L structure into the Loop. As for the destination sign on the front, this style preceded A and B service. I think it's possible this picture was taken prior to 1943. Miles Beitler: "Photo img750 puzzles me. If this was in fact a subway train, the destination sign should read “VIA SUBWAY” and the train would serve the Chicago/State subway station rather than the Chicago Avenue elevated station. Since Ravenswood express trains did use the subway until 1949, and this train obviously did not, I wonder if the photo predates the opening of the subway."

CRT 4069 is, I believe northbound at Chicago Avenue, running as a Ravenswood Express sometime between 1943 and 1949, a period when the Rave was routed through the new State Street Subway. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo) M.E.: “As your caption says, the Ravenswood ran in the State St. subway til 1949. And then it ran through to Englewood. After 1949, when the CTA implemented A and B skip-stop service, Englewood trains went instead to Howard St., and the Ravenswood got its own service using the original L structure into the Loop. As for the destination sign on the front, this style preceded A and B service. I think it’s possible this picture was taken prior to 1943. Miles Beitler: “Photo img750 puzzles me. If this was in fact a subway train, the destination sign should read “VIA SUBWAY” and the train would serve the Chicago/State subway station rather than the Chicago Avenue elevated station. Since Ravenswood express trains did use the subway until 1949, and this train obviously did not, I wonder if the photo predates the opening of the subway.”

Chicago & West Towns 1151, eastbound on Lake Street in Oak Park, a block away from the end of the line at Austin Boulevard. The building to the north is still standing.

Chicago & West Towns 1151, eastbound on Lake Street in Oak Park, a block away from the end of the line at Austin Boulevard. The building to the north is still standing.

The same location today.

The same location today.

This is a somewhat unusual view, taken along the B&OCT tracks, just west of Central Avenue. At left, you can see the CTA's Central Avenue stop on the Congress line, now the Blue Line. The station closed in 1973 due to lack of ridership. The Eisenhower expressway would be to the left of the station, which was not served by buses, and was the only walkup (other than the Forest Park terminal) on this line, which is almost all in an open cut. We are looking mainly to the east and a bit to the north.

This is a somewhat unusual view, taken along the B&OCT tracks, just west of Central Avenue. At left, you can see the CTA’s Central Avenue stop on the Congress line, now the Blue Line. The station closed in 1973 due to lack of ridership. The Eisenhower expressway would be to the left of the station, which was not served by buses, and was the only walkup (other than the Forest Park terminal) on this line, which is almost all in an open cut. We are looking mainly to the east and a bit to the north.

A two-car train of CRT gate cars at Halsted on the Stock Yards branch of the "L". This picture can be dated to about March 1946 from the advertising posters. The Olsen and Johnson comedy team, of Hellzapoppin' fame, were appearing at the Schubert Theater in Laffing Room Only.

A two-car train of CRT gate cars at Halsted on the Stock Yards branch of the “L”. This picture can be dated to about March 1946 from the advertising posters. The Olsen and Johnson comedy team, of Hellzapoppin’ fame, were appearing at the Schubert Theater in Laffing Room Only.

When we see pictures of Western Avenue PCC cars, the question is usually, which terminal is this? Berwyn and 79th had very similar turnaround loops, built around the same time (and still used today by buses). Since the buildings at rear do not match those seen at Berwyn, I am going to say this is Western and 79th. M.E.: "This has to be 79th, for two reasons: (1) Photos I have seen of the Berwyn terminal have more vegetation. (2) In the foreground of this picture are bus lanes. I don't remember any bus service at Berwyn. On the contrary, both the 49A South Western and both lines on 79th St. (route 79 east to the lake, and route 79A west to Cicero) used this terminal."

When we see pictures of Western Avenue PCC cars, the question is usually, which terminal is this? Berwyn and 79th had very similar turnaround loops, built around the same time (and still used today by buses). Since the buildings at rear do not match those seen at Berwyn, I am going to say this is Western and 79th. M.E.: “This has to be 79th, for two reasons: (1) Photos I have seen of the Berwyn terminal have more vegetation. (2) In the foreground of this picture are bus lanes. I don’t remember any bus service at Berwyn. On the contrary, both the 49A South Western and both lines on 79th St. (route 79 east to the lake, and route 79A west to Cicero) used this terminal.”

North Shore Line streetcar 360 is signed for the Naval Station, which makes this Waukegan. Joe Stupar: "The North Shore Line streetcar 360 looks like it might be at the North end of North Av? The house looks a lot like 416 W Greenwood Av, still there."

North Shore Line streetcar 360 is signed for the Naval Station, which makes this Waukegan. Joe Stupar: “The North Shore Line streetcar 360 looks like it might be at the North end of North Av? The house looks a lot like 416 W Greenwood Av, still there.”

Not sure where this rather blurry picture of a CSL car barn is. Andre Kristopans: "The blurry carbarn shot should be Burnside, looking south on Drexel from 93rd." M.E.: "I'll hazard a guess this is the carbarn on 93rd at Drexel (900 east). I say this because I think there are railroad cars in the background. A block or so east of the Drexel barn, the 93rd St. car turned right (on Kenwood, I think) to reach a private right-of-way that crossed the railroad at grade level. Altogether an interesting operation."

Not sure where this rather blurry picture of a CSL car barn is. Andre Kristopans: “The blurry carbarn shot should be Burnside, looking south on Drexel from 93rd.” M.E.: “I’ll hazard a guess this is the carbarn on 93rd at Drexel (900 east). I say this because I think there are railroad cars in the background. A block or so east of the Drexel barn, the 93rd St. car turned right (on Kenwood, I think) to reach a private right-of-way that crossed the railroad at grade level. Altogether an interesting operation.”

A North Shore Line Electroliner is off in the distance, making a stop at... where? Scott Greig: "The southbound Electroliner with the MD car at far left is looking northeast at Downey's-Great Lakes. MD cars were commonly used to move sailors' baggage, even after LCL service ended in 1947." Joe Stupar: "The Electroliner looks like it’s at Great Lakes? Looks like a coach and an MD car in the pocket there."

A North Shore Line Electroliner is off in the distance, making a stop at… where? Scott Greig: “The southbound Electroliner with the MD car at far left is looking northeast at Downey’s-Great Lakes. MD cars were commonly used to move sailors’ baggage, even after LCL service ended in 1947.” Joe Stupar: “The Electroliner looks like it’s at Great Lakes? Looks like a coach and an MD car in the pocket there.”

CSL 3258 on the 59th-61st route. Could this be the east end of the line? M.E.: "This is definitely the east end of the 59th/61st line. It is on Blackstone Ave. (1430 E.) looking north toward the Midway Plaisance (which was between 59th St. to the north and 60th St. to the south).. Across the Midway are some buildings from the University of Chicago. Notice that both trolleys are up, and the destination sign says "Central Park", referring to Central Park Ave. (3600 W.), the line's western terminus. (As I remember, the eastbound terminal sign read "60th - Blackstone".) Google maps shows where 61st St. turned left toward where Blackstone would have been. In Google, Blackstone is labelled farther north."

CSL 3258 on the 59th-61st route. Could this be the east end of the line? M.E.: “This is definitely the east end of the 59th/61st line. It is on Blackstone Ave. (1430 E.) looking north toward the Midway Plaisance (which was between 59th St. to the north and 60th St. to the south).. Across the Midway are some buildings from the University of Chicago. Notice that both trolleys are up, and the destination sign says “Central Park”, referring to Central Park Ave. (3600 W.), the line’s western terminus. (As I remember, the eastbound terminal sign read “60th – Blackstone”.) Google maps shows where 61st St. turned left toward where Blackstone would have been. In Google, Blackstone is labelled farther north.”

A North Shore Line train "at speed," as they used to say. Not sure where this is. Joe Stupar: "The North Shore train at speed looks like it might be at 4 Mile Substation? The building looks similar, and this other photo of the south side shows a similar setup with the high tension wires coming over the building, and a simple tap with no steel structure."

A North Shore Line train “at speed,” as they used to say. Not sure where this is. Joe Stupar: “The North Shore train at speed looks like it might be at 4 Mile Substation? The building looks similar, and this other photo of the south side shows a similar setup with the high tension wires coming over the building, and a simple tap with no steel structure.”

CSL 3219 is at the east end of the 43rd Street line, adjacent to an Illinois Central electric suburban service station. This was also near the end of the line of the Kenwood branch of the "L".

CSL 3219 is at the east end of the 43rd Street line, adjacent to an Illinois Central electric suburban service station. This was also near the end of the line of the Kenwood branch of the “L”.

A pair of CAT wooden "L" cars, shown here, survived into the mid-1960s, as shown by this view of the yard at Logan Square, where 6000s and 2000s are in evidence. This dates the picture to sometime between 1964 and 1970. Andre Kristopans: "The wood work motors at Logan Square hauled the rail grinder sleds until 1965 or so." Scott Greig: "Wood "L" cars at Logan...there were several wood cars (particularly the 1809-1815 group) that lasted in work service as late as 1968, maybe even 1970. Given that there's no crane or flat cars with them, they may be a rail grinder train."

A pair of CAT wooden “L” cars, shown here, survived into the mid-1960s, as shown by this view of the yard at Logan Square, where 6000s and 2000s are in evidence. This dates the picture to sometime between 1964 and 1970. Andre Kristopans: “The wood work motors at Logan Square hauled the rail grinder sleds until 1965 or so.” Scott Greig: “Wood “L” cars at Logan…there were several wood cars (particularly the 1809-1815 group) that lasted in work service as late as 1968, maybe even 1970. Given that there’s no crane or flat cars with them, they may be a rail grinder train.”

I believe this is the Chicago & West Towns car barn, which was located in North Riverside. (Many photos list it as "Berwyn," but it's across the street from that suburb.) The West Towns had two car barns, the other at Lake and Ridgeland in Oak Park. Although both were in the 'burbs, the North Riverside one was often referred to as the "suburban" barn. The area around the Oak Park barn was a lot more built up than this.

I believe this is the Chicago & West Towns car barn, which was located in North Riverside. (Many photos list it as “Berwyn,” but it’s across the street from that suburb.) The West Towns had two car barns, the other at Lake and Ridgeland in Oak Park. Although both were in the ‘burbs, the North Riverside one was often referred to as the “suburban” barn. The area around the Oak Park barn was a lot more built up than this.

1939 Chicago Surface Lines Training Program

In 2016, we were fortunate to acquire a rare 16″ transcription disc, made in 1939 for the Chicago Surface Lines. This included an audio presentation called “Keeping Pace,” about 20 minutes long, that CSL used for employee training.

We were recently able to find someone who could play such a large disc, and now this program has been digitized and can be heard for the first time in more than 80 years. We have added it as a bonus feature to our Red Arrow Lines 1967 CD, available below and through our Online Store.

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RAL
Red Arrow Lines 1967: Straffords and Bullets
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.99

This disc features rare, long out-of-print audio recordings of two 1967 round trips on the Philadelphia & Western (aka “Red Arrow Lines”) interurban between Philadelphia and Norristown, the famous third rail High-Speed Line.  One trip is by a Strafford car and the other by one of the beloved streamlined Bullets.  The line, about 13 miles long and still in operation today under SEPTA, bears many similarities to another former interurban line, the Chicago Transit Authority‘s Yellow Line (aka the “Skokie Swift”).  We have included two bonus features, audio of an entire ride along that five mile route, which was once part of the North Shore Line, and a 20-minute 1939 Chicago Surface Lines training program (“Keeping Pace”).  This was digitized from a rare original 16″ transcription disc and now can be heard again for the first time in over 80 years.

Total time – 73:32

The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago in November 2018, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway. Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.
Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)
To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

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

Bibliographic information:
Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960
Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
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Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo) Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

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This is our 253rd 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 647,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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Five Years (Part One)

You've probably seen "first day of issue" stamp covers before, but this is kind of the opposite. Some railfans mailed these commemorative envelopes to themselves on January 21, 1963, the day the North Shore Line finally passed into history.

You’ve probably seen “first day of issue” stamp covers before, but this is kind of the opposite. Some railfans mailed these commemorative envelopes to themselves on January 21, 1963, the day the North Shore Line finally passed into history.

January 21 has long been a sad day for railfans, as this was when the fabled North Shore Line ran its last interurban train between Chicago and Milwaukee in 1963, truly the end of an era in American transportation history.  To make things worse, that was a bitterly cold day.

But it is also the date when, five years ago, we started this blog.

As we celebrate that event, I thought it would be a good idea to offer a retrospective of some of our favorite images from our first 245 posts. That’s a lot to choose from, so we’re doing this in two installments. If you are a regular reader, no doubt you have your own favorites.  Today’s post covers 2015 and 2016.

We are currently in the middle of our annual fundraiser. Right now, we are only part way to our goal of raising $400 to cover our fees for the coming year. We have already received several contributions, and we thank everyone who has helped to date.

If you would like to see the Trolley Dodger continue for another year, I hope you will consider making a contribution (if you have not yet already done so). There are links at the bottom of this post you can follow, in addition to our usual Online Store.

Any additional funds received, beyond those needed for our goal, will be used to purchase more images for future blog posts.

It’s been a great five years. Thanks for being a part of it. We will be back in a few days with an all-new post.  Part Two of our “Best of” will appear early next month.

-David Sadowski

From 52 Years Ago Today… (January 21, 2015):