May Day

CTA prewar PCC 4021, the only survivor of 83 such cars, as it appeared in January 1960, three-and-a-half years after it was retired. The red streetcar behind it is presumably 460. Both cars were saved by the CTA for many years, and are now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

CTA prewar PCC 4021, the only survivor of 83 such cars, as it appeared in January 1960, three-and-a-half years after it was retired. The red streetcar behind it is presumably 460. Both cars were saved by the CTA for many years, and are now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

May Day is a traditional celebration of spring in many cultures. It is also a celebration of workers around the world. In this post, we celebrate transit workers and the people they serve, who are on the front lines of the challenges we face today. Here are some historic transit photos we have collected recently. We hope that you will enjoy them.

-David Sadowski

PS- We will be back with another batch of new finds for our next post, our 250th.

Recent Finds

In August 1957, CTA Met car 2920 approaches the eastern end of the Kennwood "L" branch at 42nd Place. This was one of the only locations along the line that used steel structure. The great majority of trackage was on Chicago Junction Railway embankment. There was a yard at this end of the line that had not been used in many years. Service was abandoned on Kenwood soon after this picture was taken. The photographer was standing on the nearby embankment.

In August 1957, CTA Met car 2920 approaches the eastern end of the Kennwood “L” branch at 42nd Place. This was one of the only locations along the line that used steel structure. The great majority of trackage was on Chicago Junction Railway embankment. There was a yard at this end of the line that had not been used in many years. Service was abandoned on Kenwood soon after this picture was taken. The photographer was standing on the nearby embankment.

By September 1959, the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban line had been completely abandoned. Passenger service ended abruptly in July 1957, and the last freight trains ran in early 1959. Here is what one of the Maywood stations (11th Avenue) looked like while the tracks were still in place.

By September 1959, the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban line had been completely abandoned. Passenger service ended abruptly in July 1957, and the last freight trains ran in early 1959. Here is what one of the Maywood stations (11th Avenue) looked like while the tracks were still in place.

This photo of CA&E 409 and trainw as taken between 1953 and 1957 at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park. Once the interurban stopped running downtown, due to construction of the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower), trains looped here. CTA trains made a different loop on a wooden elevated structure just to the west of the station. (Steve Hyett Photo)

This photo of CA&E 409 and trainw as taken between 1953 and 1957 at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park. Once the interurban stopped running downtown, due to construction of the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower), trains looped here. CTA trains made a different loop on a wooden elevated structure just to the west of the station. (Steve Hyett Photo)

CA&E's Batavia Junction in June 1963. Tracks have been removed by this time. We are looking down the Aurora branch, while Batavia trains curved off here to the right.

CA&E’s Batavia Junction in June 1963. Tracks have been removed by this time. We are looking down the Aurora branch, while Batavia trains curved off here to the right.

CA&E 423 at the Wells Street Terminal in December 1951. We are looking north along Franklin.

CA&E 423 at the Wells Street Terminal in December 1951. We are looking north along Franklin.

CTA crane car S-344 at the 61st Street Lower Yard. This was a point of intersection between Chicago's streetcar and elevated systems. Don's Rail Photos adds, "S-344 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910 as Chicago Railways 2. It was renumbered N2 in 1913 and became CSL N2 in 1914. It was rebuilt as X4 in 1946 and rebuilt as S344 in 1958. It was sold to Electric Railway Historical Society in 1963 and donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1973." Our resident South side expert M. E. writes, "Your caption says this yard was an intersection of the streetcar system and the L system. Perhaps, but its main purpose was to be a junction of the railroads and city transit. For instance, the newest equipment would arrive by rail and then be transferred to the streetcar or L system. It would not surprise me to believe that, when the Green Hornet streetcars were being converted to L cars in St. Louis, the transfer to the railroads occurred here, and the opposite happened when the finished L cars were returned to Chicago."

CTA crane car S-344 at the 61st Street Lower Yard. This was a point of intersection between Chicago’s streetcar and elevated systems. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “S-344 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910 as Chicago Railways 2. It was renumbered N2 in 1913 and became CSL N2 in 1914. It was rebuilt as X4 in 1946 and rebuilt as S344 in 1958. It was sold to Electric Railway Historical Society in 1963 and donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1973.” Our resident South side expert M. E. writes, “Your caption says this yard was an intersection of the streetcar system and the L system. Perhaps, but its main purpose was to be a junction of the railroads and city transit. For instance, the newest equipment would arrive by rail and then be transferred to the streetcar or L system. It would not surprise me to believe that, when the Green Hornet streetcars were being converted to L cars in St. Louis, the transfer to the railroads occurred here, and the opposite happened when the finished L cars were returned to Chicago.”

From the looks of it, this shows one of a handful of charter trips on the Chicago Aurora & Elgin that took place in 1958, after passenger service had been abandoned. This trip was sponsored by the Illini Railroad Club, and we are at the Lombard station.

From the looks of it, this shows one of a handful of charter trips on the Chicago Aurora & Elgin that took place in 1958, after passenger service had been abandoned. This trip was sponsored by the Illini Railroad Club, and we are at the Lombard station.

This picture shows the CA&E right of way east of Wheaton on March 14, 1957, less than four months before passenger service was abandoned.

This picture shows the CA&E right of way east of Wheaton on March 14, 1957, less than four months before passenger service was abandoned.

CA&E 422 is "at speed" on the Aurora branch west of Wheaton on March 28, 1957. Given the slow film speed of the time, many photographers pressed the shutter button before moving trains got too close, lest their pictures end up with motion blur.

CA&E 422 is “at speed” on the Aurora branch west of Wheaton on March 28, 1957. Given the slow film speed of the time, many photographers pressed the shutter button before moving trains got too close, lest their pictures end up with motion blur.

Here is what a portion of the CA&E Batavia branch right of way looked like on March 28, 1957.

Here is what a portion of the CA&E Batavia branch right of way looked like on March 28, 1957.

I am not sure of its original location, seen here, but there is a sign just like this at the Illinois Railway Museum now.

I am not sure of its original location, seen here, but there is a sign just like this at the Illinois Railway Museum now.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation (aka Red Arrow) Brilliner #9 on the Ardmore line in July 1959. Buses replaced trolleys here in 1966.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation (aka Red Arrow) Brilliner #9 on the Ardmore line in July 1959. Buses replaced trolleys here in 1966.

This is the Chicago Loop "L" looking west along Lake Street in August 1957. Trains on the Loop ran in a counterclockwise direction. We see trains of 6000s (rear) and 4000s (near). The 6000s are a westbound Douglas Park train, operating at this time via a portion of Lake-- the same path that Pink Line trains take today. It is taking a jog around the old Tower 18, which was replaced in 1969 in conjunction with the through-routing of the Lake and Dan Ryan lines.

This is the Chicago Loop “L” looking west along Lake Street in August 1957. Trains on the Loop ran in a counterclockwise direction. We see trains of 6000s (rear) and 4000s (near). The 6000s are a westbound Douglas Park train, operating at this time via a portion of Lake– the same path that Pink Line trains take today. It is taking a jog around the old Tower 18, which was replaced in 1969 in conjunction with the through-routing of the Lake and Dan Ryan lines.

The first steel cars on the CA&E were built by Pullman in 1923. This picture was taken between that date and 1926, when the Wells Street Terminal was renovated and expanded, with the addition of two more floors to the facade facing Wells Street. The terminal continued in use until 1953.

The first steel cars on the CA&E were built by Pullman in 1923. This picture was taken between that date and 1926, when the Wells Street Terminal was renovated and expanded, with the addition of two more floors to the facade facing Wells Street. The terminal continued in use until 1953.

CA&E 401 on Broadway and Downer Place in downtown Aurora in the late 1920s.

CA&E 401 on Broadway and Downer Place in downtown Aurora in the late 1920s.

The same location today.

The same location today.

The date on the back of this photo is April 1, 1953, although the date in the caption is March 23, which was a Monday. I am not sure just which station this was near, along the ground-level portion of the CTA Ravenswood (now Brown Line) "L". This train was only going as far as Fullerton, which suggests this accident may have happened at night, at a time when Ravenswood trains did not go all the way to the Loop. (The turnback point for this was later moved to Belmont.)

The date on the back of this photo is April 1, 1953, although the date in the caption is March 23, which was a Monday. I am not sure just which station this was near, along the ground-level portion of the CTA Ravenswood (now Brown Line) “L”. This train was only going as far as Fullerton, which suggests this accident may have happened at night, at a time when Ravenswood trains did not go all the way to the Loop. (The turnback point for this was later moved to Belmont.)

From the Wikipedia: "The Chicago, Aurora and DeKalb Railroad was a 29-mile (47 km) interurban line which operated from 1906 to 1923 and connected the cities of Aurora and DeKalb, Illinois. The line made connections in Aurora with the Aurora, Elgin and Fox River Electric Company, the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin Railroad, and the Aurora, Plainfield and Joliet Railway. Entry into Aurora was made via streetcar trackage of the Aurora, Elgin and Fox River Electric. Over the course of its history, the railroad used internal combustion, steam, and finally electric traction as motive power."

From the Wikipedia: “The Chicago, Aurora and DeKalb Railroad was a 29-mile (47 km) interurban line which operated from 1906 to 1923 and connected the cities of Aurora and DeKalb, Illinois. The line made connections in Aurora with the Aurora, Elgin and Fox River Electric Company, the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin Railroad, and the Aurora, Plainfield and Joliet Railway. Entry into Aurora was made via streetcar trackage of the Aurora, Elgin and Fox River Electric. Over the course of its history, the railroad used internal combustion, steam, and finally electric traction as motive power.”

CA&E postwar cars 453 and 451, two of an order of ten, at the Wheaton Yards.

CA&E postwar cars 453 and 451, two of an order of ten, at the Wheaton Yards.

Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee train #410 at Green Bay Junction, led by car 773, in 1953.

Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee train #410 at Green Bay Junction, led by car 773, in 1953.

NSL car 717 heads up a two car train on the Skokie Valley Route. (Photo by S. K. Bolton, Jr.)

NSL car 717 heads up a two car train on the Skokie Valley Route. (Photo by S. K. Bolton, Jr.)

Three North Shore Line cars, including 161. (S. K. Bolton, Jr. Photo)

Three North Shore Line cars, including 161. (S. K. Bolton, Jr. Photo)

North Shore Line car 712.

North Shore Line car 712.

This looks like an Illinois Terminal car, but that is all the information I have about it.

This looks like an Illinois Terminal car, but that is all the information I have about it.

CA&E 316. (Malcolm D. McCarter Photo)

CA&E 316. (Malcolm D. McCarter Photo)

CA&E car 417, built by Pullman in 1923.

CA&E car 417, built by Pullman in 1923.

CA&E 400.

CA&E 400.

I have no info on this photo, but if I had to guess, I would say these are North Shore Line wood cars, of the type that were eventually sold to the CA&E in 1946.

I have no info on this photo, but if I had to guess, I would say these are North Shore Line wood cars, of the type that were eventually sold to the CA&E in 1946.

CA&E 451. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CA&E 451. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

Between 1939 and 1942, the North Shore Line let the fledgling Central Electric Railfans' Association use one of their old wooden cars (#300) as a club car, for meetings and excursions. The date on the back of this photo is April 11, 1943, but I don't think any fantrips were taking place on the Chicago interurbans at that time, as there was a war going on.

Between 1939 and 1942, the North Shore Line let the fledgling Central Electric Railfans’ Association use one of their old wooden cars (#300) as a club car, for meetings and excursions. The date on the back of this photo is April 11, 1943, but I don’t think any fantrips were taking place on the Chicago interurbans at that time, as there was a war going on.

CA&E 321 at Laramie Yards in Chicago. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CA&E 321 at Laramie Yards in Chicago. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

The back of the preceding photo, hand inscribed by Edward Frank, Jr.

The back of the preceding photo, hand inscribed by Edward Frank, Jr.

The Logan Square Terminal of the Metropolitan "L", in a photo postcard postmarked 1908. The iconic Illinois Centennial Monument was not erected until ten years later.

The Logan Square Terminal of the Metropolitan “L”, in a photo postcard postmarked 1908. The iconic Illinois Centennial Monument was not erected until ten years later.

A Met "L" conductor, possibly circa 1910. Notice how the stool he is sitting on has been repaired using some twine. This may possibly have been taken at Logan Square.

A Met “L” conductor, possibly circa 1910. Notice how the stool he is sitting on has been repaired using some twine. This may possibly have been taken at Logan Square.

A pair of CTA 4000s at Marion Street in Oak Park, along the old ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L", in May 1958. We are looking west. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

A pair of CTA 4000s at Marion Street in Oak Park, along the old ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L”, in May 1958. We are looking west. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA PCC 7225, signed for Route 36 -Broadway-State, and red car 690, probably in 1954. But which station (car barn) is this? (J. W. Vigrass Photo) Our resident South side expert M. E. adds, "My guess is the Vincennes/77th barn. Reason #1: All the trackage. It was a very wide barn. Reason #2: The PCC car's destination sign reads State-84. There was a turnaround loop at 84th and State, a little more than a mile from this barn. By the way, the words on the roof line of the barn read "Chicago Surface Lines"."

CTA PCC 7225, signed for Route 36 -Broadway-State, and red car 690, probably in 1954. But which station (car barn) is this? (J. W. Vigrass Photo) Our resident South side expert M. E. adds, “My guess is the Vincennes/77th barn. Reason #1: All the trackage. It was a very wide barn. Reason #2: The PCC car’s destination sign reads State-84. There was a turnaround loop at 84th and State, a little more than a mile from this barn. By the way, the words on the roof line of the barn read “Chicago Surface Lines”.”

CTA red cars on the scrap line in 1954. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA red cars on the scrap line in 1954. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA salt car AA59 in 1954. Don's Rail Photos: "AA59, salt car, was built by St Louis Car Co in 1903 as CUTCo 4837. It was renumbered 1308 in 1913 and became CSL 1308 in 1914. It was rebuilt as (a) salt car in January 1934 and renumbered AA59 on April 15, 1948. It was retired on September 27, 1956." (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA salt car AA59 in 1954. Don’s Rail Photos: “AA59, salt car, was built by St Louis Car Co in 1903 as CUTCo 4837. It was renumbered 1308 in 1913 and became CSL 1308 in 1914. It was rebuilt as (a) salt car in January 1934 and renumbered AA59 on April 15, 1948. It was retired on September 27, 1956.” (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

I am not sure what number CTA car this is, in this 1954 photo, or why it is painted green instead of red. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

I am not sure what number CTA car this is, in this 1954 photo, or why it is painted green instead of red. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA 144 at 77th and Vincennes on May 25, 1958. The occasion was the final streetcar fantrip in Chicago, less than a month before the last line (Wentworth) was converted to buses. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA 144 at 77th and Vincennes on May 25, 1958. The occasion was the final streetcar fantrip in Chicago, less than a month before the last line (Wentworth) was converted to buses. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

The Lake Street "L" near Cicero Avenue in May 1958. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

The Lake Street “L” near Cicero Avenue in May 1958. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

A two-car CTA traiin of 6000s is running on temporary trackage in Van Buren Street in May 1958. The following month, the Garfield Park line was replaced with the new Congress rapid transit line. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

A two-car CTA traiin of 6000s is running on temporary trackage in Van Buren Street in May 1958. The following month, the Garfield Park line was replaced with the new Congress rapid transit line. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

The CTA's Loomis Junction in September 1958, looking west. Here is where Douglas Park trains went up a ramp to connect to the existing "L" structure, while Congress trains continued to the right. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

The CTA’s Loomis Junction in September 1958, looking west. Here is where Douglas Park trains went up a ramp to connect to the existing “L” structure, while Congress trains continued to the right. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

A downtown photo stop on the May 25, 1958 streetcar fantrip. These later trips were held on weekends, since in these years, the CTA substituted buses for streetcars on some of the remaining lines. So, the fans could have all the photo stops they wanted. It was also typical to pair one of the older red cars with a PCC. On this trip, the 144 was paired with car 4384. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

A downtown photo stop on the May 25, 1958 streetcar fantrip. These later trips were held on weekends, since in these years, the CTA substituted buses for streetcars on some of the remaining lines. So, the fans could have all the photo stops they wanted. It was also typical to pair one of the older red cars with a PCC. On this trip, the 144 was paired with car 4384. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

Another picture of the final CTA streetcar fantrip on May 25, 1958. Red car 144 (now at the Illinois Railway Museum) is somewhere along the Wentworth line on Chicago's south side. (J. W. Vigrass Photo) Our resident South Side expert M. E. adds, ""Somewhere on the Wentworth line" has to be along Vincennes between 81st and 73rd, and most likely between the 77th St. barn and 73rd. (At 73rd, the car line curved north onto Wentworth.) The street width of Vincennes was noticeably wider than the width of Wentworth." The sequence of shots taken by the photographer would suggest the car is northbound. There is the Hamilton Park Laundry (7416 S. Vincennes) at the left of the picture. Hamilton Park is located just a few blocks west of Vincennes, between 74th and 72nd.

Another picture of the final CTA streetcar fantrip on May 25, 1958. Red car 144 (now at the Illinois Railway Museum) is somewhere along the Wentworth line on Chicago’s south side. (J. W. Vigrass Photo) Our resident South Side expert M. E. adds, “”Somewhere on the Wentworth line” has to be along Vincennes between 81st and 73rd, and most likely between the 77th St. barn and 73rd. (At 73rd, the car line curved north onto Wentworth.) The street width of Vincennes was noticeably wider than the width of Wentworth.” The sequence of shots taken by the photographer would suggest the car is northbound. There is the Hamilton Park Laundry (7416 S. Vincennes) at the left of the picture. Hamilton Park is located just a few blocks west of Vincennes, between 74th and 72nd.

The same location today.

The same location today.

A CTA work car in 1954. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

A CTA work car in 1954. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA work car W-4 in 1954. Don's Rail Photos: "W4, work car. was built by Chicago Rys in 1908 as CRy 53. It was renumbered W4 in 1913 and became CSL W4 in 1914. It was retired on May 17, 1958." (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA work car W-4 in 1954. Don’s Rail Photos: “W4, work car. was built by Chicago Rys in 1908 as CRy 53. It was renumbered W4 in 1913 and became CSL W4 in 1914. It was retired on May 17, 1958.” (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA red cars (and one that was repainted green) on the scrap line in 1954. Visible in this photo, from left to right, are 3141, 3179, and 3151. Sister car 3142 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA red cars (and one that was repainted green) on the scrap line in 1954. Visible in this photo, from left to right, are 3141, 3179, and 3151. Sister car 3142 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA red car 417 in February 1954. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

CTA red car 417 in February 1954. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

The view from an eastbound Douglas-Milwaukee CTA "L" train, going down the ramp at Loomis Junction to run on the then-new Congress median line, in September 1958. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

The view from an eastbound Douglas-Milwaukee CTA “L” train, going down the ramp at Loomis Junction to run on the then-new Congress median line, in September 1958. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

Another photo from the May 25, 1958 CTA fantrip featuring red car 144. (J. W. Vigrass Photo) Our resident South Side expert M. E. adds, "Methinks this is at 81st and Halsted, the south end of the Wentworth line. The only way to reverse direction was to make a wye -- to turn from westbound on 81st to northbound on Halsted, then to run backwards (southbound on Halsted) across 81st St., and finally to turn from facing north on Halsted onto eastbound 81st. I think thus because there is only one trolley wire crossing the intersection, and I see only one track. This would place car 144 north of 81st St., going backwards to the south side of 81st."

Another photo from the May 25, 1958 CTA fantrip featuring red car 144. (J. W. Vigrass Photo) Our resident South Side expert M. E. adds, “Methinks this is at 81st and Halsted, the south end of the Wentworth line. The only way to reverse direction was to make a wye — to turn from westbound on 81st to northbound on Halsted, then to run backwards (southbound on Halsted) across 81st St., and finally to turn from facing north on Halsted onto eastbound 81st. I think thus because there is only one trolley wire crossing the intersection, and I see only one track. This would place car 144 north of 81st St., going backwards to the south side of 81st.”

A two car Evanston Express train, including car 45, at State and Lake. Cars in the 1-50 series were delivered in 1960, so this photo cannot be any earlier than that. We are looking west. The date may be June 1961. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

A two car Evanston Express train, including car 45, at State and Lake. Cars in the 1-50 series were delivered in 1960, so this photo cannot be any earlier than that. We are looking west. The date may be June 1961. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

In June 1961, photographer J. W. Vigrass captured this shot of a southbound Howard train at right, with a North Shore Line Electroliner heading north at left, and a northbound Howard train at center. Overhead wire is visible on the fourth track, for use by freight trains that were operated by the CTA until 1973. Southbound North Shore trains also used this power source at times.

In June 1961, photographer J. W. Vigrass captured this shot of a southbound Howard train at right, with a North Shore Line Electroliner heading north at left, and a northbound Howard train at center. Overhead wire is visible on the fourth track, for use by freight trains that were operated by the CTA until 1973. Southbound North Shore trains also used this power source at times.

A close-up of the previous picture.

A close-up of the previous picture.

CTA 6101-6102 heading up a four-car fantrip train in November 1985, for "Trolleyfest." After being stored at the Fox River Trolley Museum for many years, 6101-6102 are back on CTA property, and it is hoped they will someday run again. (Gregory Markey Photo)

CTA 6101-6102 heading up a four-car fantrip train in November 1985, for “Trolleyfest.” After being stored at the Fox River Trolley Museum for many years, 6101-6102 are back on CTA property, and it is hoped they will someday run again. (Gregory Markey Photo)

A northbound North Shore Line train at Howard Street.

A northbound North Shore Line train at Howard Street.

The same Trolleyfest fantrip train seen in a previous picture, with one of the four sets of articulated 51-54 cars coupled to it (formerly 5001-5004), is on the Paulina Connector in November 1985. At the time, this was a single track connection between parts of the rapid transit system, used only for shop moves. Now, this has been renovated and is part of the Pink Line route. The old Chicago Stadium, home of the Bulls and Blackhawks, is at rear. It has since been demolished and replaced by the United Center.

The same Trolleyfest fantrip train seen in a previous picture, with one of the four sets of articulated 51-54 cars coupled to it (formerly 5001-5004), is on the Paulina Connector in November 1985. At the time, this was a single track connection between parts of the rapid transit system, used only for shop moves. Now, this has been renovated and is part of the Pink Line route. The old Chicago Stadium, home of the Bulls and Blackhawks, is at rear. It has since been demolished and replaced by the United Center.

This photo was unfortunately partially light struck. This was not an uncommon occurrence when paper-backed roll film was used. Once again, this is North shore Line wooden car 300, some time during the 1939-42 period when it was used by Central Electric Railfans' Association as a club car, for excursions and meetings. From the looks of things, this is winter.

This photo was unfortunately partially light struck. This was not an uncommon occurrence when paper-backed roll film was used. Once again, this is North shore Line wooden car 300, some time during the 1939-42 period when it was used by Central Electric Railfans’ Association as a club car, for excursions and meetings. From the looks of things, this is winter.

A close-up of the previous picture. I believe the gentleman at center is a young George Krambles, CERA Member #1, then in his early 20s.

A close-up of the previous picture. I believe the gentleman at center is a young George Krambles, CERA Member #1, then in his early 20s.

Recent Correspondence

Carl Oberfranc writes:

I’ve just completed my 4th or 5th view of every posting from January 2015 forward, and I can’t thank you and your contributors enough for sharing these wonderful memories of Chicago-area transportation. I fond myself spending as much time focusing on the street scenes of cars, stores, etc. as I do the primary subject matter. Wonderful memories of what Chicago and surrounding areas looked like in my lifetime (starting in the mid-‘50s), and the world of my parents’ lifetimes.

I grew up in Glen Ellyn, so I have a special fondness for the Sunset Lines. I have very early memories of the tracks still being in place just before removal. In the late 60s, a friend and I would spend many days hiking the mostly undeveloped Prairie Path all the way to Elmhurst, or along the Elgin and Aurora branches. Spent many hours climbing on the bridge over the C&NW in Wheaton (the old ties were the only flooring at that time) and watching the freight trains pass below.

I was born in Oak Park, and spent nearly every Saturday there visiting Grandparents and other relatives in the 1960s. One location was on South Grove Ave., just a few doors south of South Blvd. I remember walking over to the Lake St. L crossing shack at Kenilworth with some other kids and talking with the CTA gate attendant. This was probably no more than a few months before the line was relocated to the C&NW embankment. The pictures of the Forest Park gas holder and the old concrete grain silos are bring back a lot of wonderful memories.

I wanted share scans of some CA&E photos I purchased in the early days of eBay (apologies for the quality). I can’t remember the seller at this point, nor can I be sure who the original photographer would be, but many of them have stamped info on the back that says, “Charles A. Brown, Wilkinsonville, MA.” Hopefully this rings a bell with one of your readers.

I don’t think any of these duplicate what you’ve already posted to your site. In fact, the only CA&E corresponding car I’ve noticed is the color photo of #30 from your January, 2019 post. Compare/contrast with my B&W image that shows previous damage to the bottom of the vertical wood slats.

Thanks again to you and your contributors for a great site!

Glad that you like the site, and thanks very much for sharing these great photos with our readers.

CA&E 10.

CA&E 10.

CA&E 30.

CA&E 30.

CA&E 302 in Wheaton, 1940.

CA&E 302 in Wheaton, 1940.

CA&E 312.

CA&E 312.

CA&E 318 on an early fantrip.

CA&E 318 on an early fantrip.

CA&E 318.

CA&E 318.

CA&E 459.

CA&E 459.

A CA&E Chicago Express in Berkeley.

A CA&E Chicago Express in Berkeley.

Ron Geppert writes:

I ran across the following original check which I acquired during my TT collecting days and wonder if you would appreciate having it or maybe just the jpg is adequate for your use.

I am sure our readers will appreciate seeing this. Thanks for sharing it.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

Now Available On Compact Disc
CDLayout33p85
RRCNSLR
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
Newly rediscovered and digitized after 60 years, most of these audio recordings of Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban trains are previously unheard, and include on-train recordings, run-bys, and switching. Includes both Electroliners, standard cars, and locomotives. Recorded between 1955 and 1963 on the Skokie Valley Route and Mundelein branch. We are donating $5 from the sale of each disc to Kenneth Gear, who saved these and many other original Railroad Record Club master tapes from oblivion.
Total time – 73:14
[/caption]


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

RRC-OMTT
Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes
# of Discs- 3
Price: $24.99


Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes

Our friend Kenneth Gear recently acquired the original Railroad Record Club master tapes. These have been digitized, and we are now offering over three hours of 1950s traction audio recordings that have not been heard in 60 years.
Properties covered include:

Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Capital Transit, Altoona & Logan Valley, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Pennsylvania Railroad, Illinois Terminal, Baltimore Transit, Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto, St. Louis Public Transit, Queensboro Bridge, Third Avenue El, Southern Iowa Railway, IND Subway (NYC), Johnstown Traction, Cincinnati Street Railway, and the Toledo & Eastern
$5 from the sale of each set will go to Kenneth Gear, who has invested thousands of dollars to purchase all the remaining artifacts relating to William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, WI. It is very unlikely that he will ever be able to recoup his investment, but we support his efforts at preserving this important history, and sharing it with railfans everywhere.
Disc One
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick):
01. 3:45 Box motor #5
02. 3:32 Box motor #5, May 24, 1953
03. 4:53 Engine whistle signals, loco #12, January 17, 1954
04. 4:13 Loco #12
Capital Transit:
05. 0:56 PCC car 1557, Route 20 – Cabin John line, July 19, 1953
06. 1:43
Altoona & Logan Valley:
07. 4:00 Master Unit car #74, August 8, 1953
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit:
08. 4:17 Car 306 (ex-AE&FRE), September 27, 1953
09. 4:04
10. 1:39
Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1s:
11. 4:35 August 27, 1954
12. 4:51
Illinois Terminal:
13. 5:02 Streamliner #300, northward from Edwardsville, February 14, 1955
14. 12:40 Car #202 (ex-1202), between Springfield and Decatur, February 1955
Baltimore Transit:
15. 4:56 Car 5706, January 16, 1954
16. 4:45 Car 5727, January 16, 1954
Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto:
17. 4:19 Interurbans #83 and #80, October 1954
18. 5:20 #80, October 1954
Total time: 79:30
Disc Two
St. Louis Public Service:
01. 4:34 PCCs #1708, 1752, 1727, 1739, December 6, 1953
Queensboro Bridge Company (New York City):
02. 5:37 Cars #606, 605, and 601, December 31, 1954
03. 5:17
Third Avenue El (New York City):
04. 5:07 December 31. 1954
05. 4:47 Cars #1797, 1759, and 1784 at 59th Street, December 31, 1954
Southern Iowa Railway:
06. 4:46 Loco #400, August 17, 1955
07. 5:09 Passenger interurban #9
IND Subway (New York City):
08. 8:40 Queens Plaza station, December 31, 1954
Last Run of the Hagerstown & Frederick:
09. 17:34 Car #172, February 20, 1954 – as broadcast on WJEJ, February 21, 1954, with host Carroll James, Sr.
Total time: 61:31
Disc Three
Altoona & Logan Valley/Johnstown Traction:
01. 29:34 (Johnstown Traction recordings were made August 9, 1953)
Cincinnati Street Railway:
02. 17:25 (Car 187, Brighton Car House, December 13, 1951– regular service abandoned April 29, 1951)
Toledo & Eastern:
03. 10:36 (recorded May 3-7, 1958– line abandoned July 1958)
Capital Transit:
04. 16:26 sounds recorded on board a PCC (early 1950s)
Total time: 74:02
Total time (3 discs) – 215:03



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 249th 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 618,000 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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Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

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 Westchester Branch – What Remains

The IC underpass, looking south.

The IC underpass, looking south.

Following up on our previous post CTA’s Westchester Branch – What Might Have Been, we decided to scout out the old right-of-way, more than 63 years since the last trains ran, to see what we could find.  Fortunately, there are many traces of the old line that are still visible.

For your consideration, we present some modern-day shots of the same locations where “L” trains once ran, both along the CA&E main line and the Westchester branch.  If you ever decide to go exploring, to see these areas for yourself, we hope our efforts will give you a bit of a “leg up” on the work.

Interestingly, one entire half-block where the Harrison station once was, remained vacant land as late as 2011.  This has now been developed, and we have some “before and after” pictures for comparison.

Since there are so few streets that cross the former Westchester right-of-way south of I290, it would appear that some housing was built adjacent to the line even before abandonment in December 1951. The line still being in use would provide a logical reason for keeping new grade crossings to a minimum.

If the CTA Blue Line is ever extended west to Mannheim Road, it would cross the old Westchester right-of-way very close to this spot.  If a station is built there, that would be even more ironic.  Someday you may be able to take a CTA rapid transit train to much the same location that you could in 1951, but not since.

-David Sadowski

You might think that the CA&E followed a straight path to the DesPlaines terminal, but such was not the case. Heading east from First Avenue, where the Illinois Prairie Path ends now, it actually headed southeast before turning east and crossing the DesPlaines River where I290 does today, then connecting with the terminal from the south.

You might think that the CA&E followed a straight path to the DesPlaines terminal, but such was not the case. Heading east from First Avenue, where the Illinois Prairie Path ends now, it actually headed southeast before turning east and crossing the DesPlaines River where I290 does today, then connecting with the terminal from the south.

Approximately the same view as image 194 in our last post (showing a Westchester car heading west, crossing First Avenue). The old Refiner's Pride gas station has long since been replaced by an oil change shop.

Approximately the same view as image 194 in our last post (showing a Westchester car heading west, crossing First Avenue). The old Refiner’s Pride gas station has long since been replaced by an oil change shop.

Looking southeast from First Avenue. The CA&E tracks headed through this area, before turning east to cross the DesPlaines River. There were also some storage tracks in this area, now occupied by Commonwealth Edison.

Looking southeast from First Avenue. The CA&E tracks headed through this area, before turning east to cross the DesPlaines River. There were also some storage tracks in this area, now occupied by Commonwealth Edison.

Looking east from First Avenue. The CA&E right-of-way veered off here to the right, while the Chicago Great Western freight line went straight ahead. Some years ago, a new bridge was built where the CGW crossed the DesPlaines River, for pedestrian and bike traffic.

Looking east from First Avenue. The CA&E right-of-way veered off here to the right, while the Chicago Great Western freight line went straight ahead. Some years ago, a new bridge was built where the CGW crossed the DesPlaines River, for pedestrian and bike traffic.

The Illinois Prairie Path begins at First Avenue in Maywood. We are looking west.

The Illinois Prairie Path begins at First Avenue in Maywood. We are looking west.

We are looking east from 6th Avenue in Maywood, about the same view as seen in image 181 in our previous post (showing the CA&E 5th Avenue station).

We are looking east from 6th Avenue in Maywood, about the same view as seen in image 181 in our previous post (showing the CA&E 5th Avenue station).

The old CA&E right-of-way looking west from 6th Avenue in Maywood.

The old CA&E right-of-way looking west from 6th Avenue in Maywood.

The old CA&E main line, looking west from Madison and 19th.

The old CA&E main line, looking west from Madison and 19th.

Looking east from 25h near Madison, where a former CA&E station was located.

Looking east from 25h near Madison, where a former CA&E station was located.

Looking west from Madison and 25th. Some of the same high tension lines are visible in image 196 in our previous post.

Looking west from Madison and 25th. Some of the same high tension lines are visible in image 196 in our previous post.

The Illinois Prairie Path, at right, follows the right-of-way of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban.

The Illinois Prairie Path, at right, follows the right-of-way of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban.

Where the CA&E main line once crossed under the Indiana Harbor Belt RR. Since the railroad was scrapped in 1962, some concrete walls have been erected.

Where the CA&E main line once crossed under the Indiana Harbor Belt RR. Since the railroad was scrapped in 1962, some concrete walls have been erected.

The Westchester line branched off from the CA&E main line near the top of the picture, then curved to the south to fololow a path between Marshall and Bellwood Avenues. This was approximately the location of Mark Drive, which is designated as a street for a short stretch, but is mostly an alley. From Jackson it headed south, and there was a station at Harrison just west of Bellwood Avenue.

The Westchester line branched off from the CA&E main line near the top of the picture, then curved to the south to fololow a path between Marshall and Bellwood Avenues. This was approximately the location of Mark Drive, which is designated as a street for a short stretch, but is mostly an alley. From Jackson it headed south, and there was a station at Harrison just west of Bellwood Avenue.

An exception to the rule that you can follow the right-of-way via the telephone poles. These connect with the ones that follow the Westchester line, but the tracks were actually a bit west of this location on Madison Street (as can be seen in some of our other photos that show the actual location).

An exception to the rule that you can follow the right-of-way via the telephone poles. These connect with the ones that follow the Westchester line, but the tracks were actually a bit west of this location on Madison Street (as can be seen in some of our other photos that show the actual location).

This house can also seen in image 199 in our previous post, in a photo showing a Westchester car crossing Madison Street.

This house can also seen in image 199 in our previous post, in a photo showing a Westchester car crossing Madison Street.

The Westchester line crossed Madison at approximately this spot, where the house in the middle of the picture is now located. From here, the track curved off to run to the west of Bellwood Avenue.

The Westchester line crossed Madison at approximately this spot, where the house in the middle of the picture is now located. From here, the track curved off to run to the west of Bellwood Avenue.

Looking southeast at the old Westchester right-of-way, at Monroe between Bellwood and Marshall Avenues.

Looking southeast at the old Westchester right-of-way, at Monroe between Bellwood and Marshall Avenues.

Along Mark Drive in Bellwood.

Along Mark Drive in Bellwood.

Along Mark Drive in Bellwood.

Along Mark Drive in Bellwood.

Along Mark Drive in Bellwood.

Along Mark Drive in Bellwood.

Along Mark Drive in Bellwood.

Along Mark Drive in Bellwood.

Along Mark Drive in Bellwood.

Along Mark Drive in Bellwood.

Along Mark Drive in Bellwood.

Along Mark Drive in Bellwood.

Along Mark Drive in Bellwood.

Along Mark Drive in Bellwood.

Along Mark Drive in Bellwood.

Along Mark Drive in Bellwood.

Looking north from Van Buren.

Looking north from Van Buren.

Part of the old Westchester right of way has been turned into "Park Place," which appears to be a new street.

Part of the old Westchester right of way has been turned into “Park Place,” which appears to be a new street.

Looking north from Van Buren.

Looking north from Van Buren.

Looking north from Van Buren.

Looking north from Van Buren.

Bellwood Estates.

Bellwood Estates.

Bellwood Estates, as seen from the corner of Bellwood Avenue and Harrison, just north of I290. This development was not here in 2011.

Bellwood Estates, as seen from the corner of Bellwood Avenue and Harrison, just north of I290. This development was not here in 2011.

Bellwood Estates.

Bellwood Estates.

Looking south from Van Buren. The new Bellwood Estates development is at left.

Looking south from Van Buren. The new Bellwood Estates development is at left.

Looking north from Van Buren, the approximate right-of-way of the Westchester branch is now called Park Place.

Looking north from Van Buren, the approximate right-of-way of the Westchester branch is now called Park Place.

Looking south at the old Westchester right-of-way from Van Buren in 2011. The tracks followed the alignment of the telephone poles. This area has been built up since then.

Looking south at the old Westchester right-of-way from Van Buren in 2011. The tracks followed the alignment of the telephone poles. This area has been built up since then.

This 2011 view of the then-empty half block at Harrison and Bellwood, looking much as it had 60 years earlier.

This 2011 view of the then-empty half block at Harrison and Bellwood, looking much as it had 60 years earlier.

Undeveloped land near the old Harrison station, as it appeared in 2011 prior to the construction of Bellwood Estates.

Undeveloped land near the old Harrison station, as it appeared in 2011 prior to the construction of Bellwood Estates.

Bellwood and Harrison in 2011, before the construction of Bellwood Estates.

Bellwood and Harrison in 2011, before the construction of Bellwood Estates.

After crossing where I290 is today, the Westchester branch headed south and ran alongside the eastern edge of what is now Gladstone Park. The line went under the Illinois Central tracks and there was a station at Roosevelt Road, along with a couple of storage tracks.

After crossing where I290 is today, the Westchester branch headed south and ran alongside the eastern edge of what is now Gladstone Park. The line went under the Illinois Central tracks and there was a station at Roosevelt Road, along with a couple of storage tracks.

The right-of-way looking north from Kitchner Street in Westchester, just south of I290.

The right-of-way looking north from Kitchner Street in Westchester, just south of I290.

Grace Central Church on Kitchner Street in Westchester, some of the construction that has built up in the area since 1951.

Grace Central Church on Kitchner Street in Westchester, some of the construction that has built up in the area since 1951.

Looking south from Kitchner Street.

Looking south from Kitchner Street.

Looking south from Kitchner Street.

Looking south from Kitchner Street.

In places, it is only possible to follow the path of the old right-of-way via telephone poles.

In places, it is only possible to follow the path of the old right-of-way via telephone poles.

Looking south from Kitchner Street in Westchester.

Looking south from Kitchner Street in Westchester.

Looking north from the IC underpass.

Looking north from the IC underpass.

A dirt road passes under the partly filled-in Illinois Central underpass. We are looking south.

A dirt road passes under the partly filled-in Illinois Central underpass. We are looking south.

The Illinois Central underpass, as viewed from the south.

The Illinois Central underpass, as viewed from the south.

The partially filled-in underpass that once took Westchester trains under the Illinois Central.

The partially filled-in underpass that once took Westchester trains under the Illinois Central.

Here, the line continued to run south between Balmoral Avenue and Westchester Boulevard.

Here, the line continued to run south between Balmoral Avenue and Westchester Boulevard.

Finally, heading south past the station at Canterbury, the line curved to the southwest, following the general alignment of Balmoral Avenue until ending just short of Mannheim and 22nd. Insull planned for eventual extension west from this point to what we now call Oakbrook.

Finally, heading south past the station at Canterbury, the line curved to the southwest, following the general alignment of Balmoral Avenue until ending just short of Mannheim and 22nd. Insull planned for eventual extension west from this point to what we now call Oakbrook.

The #317 Pace bus stops at the exact location of the former Westchester rapid transit station at Canterbury.

The #317 Pace bus stops at the exact location of the former Westchester rapid transit station at Canterbury.

Looking north from Canterbury.

Looking north from Canterbury.

The right-of-way looking south from Canterbury.

The right-of-way looking south from Canterbury.

Near Mannheim and 22nd Street.

Near Mannheim and 22nd Street.

Near Mannheim and 22nd Street.

Near Mannheim and 22nd Street.

Near Mannheim and 22nd Street.

Near Mannheim and 22nd Street.

The Westchester right-of-way near Mannheim and 22nd Street, looking north.

The Westchester right-of-way near Mannheim and 22nd Street, looking north.

A bank now occupies the end of the Westchester line at Mannheim and 22nd Street.

A bank now occupies the end of the Westchester line at Mannheim and 22nd Street.

Bill Shapotkin writes:
It is interesting to see that the idea of looking at the r-o-w (such as the Westchester ‘L’) is not just my own personnel domain anymore. We can still learn a lot about the past by reviewing the remains of the present. (I especially like the before/after photos of the same house on Madison St in Bellwood (shown below).)

Kudos to you, Dave.
A few thoughts concerning the Westchester ‘L’ as it relates to the present-day: Some time ago, a fellow wrote (in a thread to this group) how the Westchester ‘L’ is missed (by the present-day residents) today. Not so — but just how are the residents of the area served today?
PACE #317 (successor to CTA #17) http://www.pacebus.com/pdf/schedules/317sched.pdf operates hourly (thirty minute rush) betw Des Plaines Ave and Balmoral/Canterbury. Service does NOT begin until later in the morning and does NOT run late into the evening. That said, on Weekdays/Saturday, PACE #303/310 http://www.pacebus.com/pdf/schedules/303sched.pdf and http://www.pacebus.com/pdf/schedules/310sched.pdf provide twenty-minute service as far west of 19th Ave — AND there are those two late-night trips (what would otherwise be pull-in trips) that cover the route west along Madison St.
It appears that whatever REAL traffic potential along the route of the ‘L’ is along Madison St — NOT in Bellwood or Westchester.
That said, PACE #301 http://www.pacebus.com/pdf/schedules/301sched.pdf  now provides frequent (thirty minute or better) along Roosevelt Rd on Weekdays/Saturday and forty-five minute service on Sunday. Of course, this also provides service along a route one mile south of Madison St and provides better west-end destinations (Hillside Mall (at least what is left of it), Oakbrook and (on weekdays), points along Roosevelt as far west as Wheaton. Wow! I can recall when this was a weekday-only route (on a sixty-minute headway) betw Des Plaines Ave and Hillside — and did not operate after 7:00 PM.
Further south, PACE #322 http://www.pacebus.com/pdf/schedules/322sched.pdf operates on a thirty-minute headway (Weekdays and Saturday) and hourly on Sunday (Sunday being the only real hours-restrictive  portion of the operation. Like the #301, there are good west-end destinations (Oakbrook and Yorktown).
Sadly, the north-south service of PACE #330 http://www.pacebus.com/pdf/schedules/330sched.pdf has not lived up to (what I believe is) its full potential. If the route served the Midway ‘L’ (instead of Archer/Neva) on its south end and actually served Metra’s MILWW line on a full-time basis (i.e.: served the Franklin Park (instead of the Mannheim) station), it would have a lot more of a following — and the corresponding service levels that the other routes now serving the area now have.
I believe many of us (and I include myself to a certain degree) have rose-colored glasses on when we look at some of the long-gone rail transit services. It appears to me that the present-day routes actually serve the are better — providing service to where people actually live and/or where they want to travel, which sadly the ‘L’ would not be able to do.
Slowly but surely (heavy on the slowly, light on the surely), I am documenting the Westchester ‘L’ and its present-day bus replacement services. Good Lord willing, this documentation will be completed later this year. When completed, the program will be offered to any interested group (such as CERA or OSA) for public viewing.

 

CTA’s Westchester Branch – What Might Have Been

The "Westchester-Maywood" route, from a 1948 CTA map.

The “Westchester-Maywood” route, from a 1948 CTA map.

This 1943 map shows where the Westchester branch ran.

This 1943 map shows where the Westchester branch ran.

Today’s photo essay features pictures of the former Chicago Rapid Transit/Chicago Transit Authority Westchester branch, which ran from 1926 to 1951. You can find an excellent track map here.  (You can also read our follow-up post, showing what traces of the old line are still visible here.)

It’s always interesting to speculate on what “might have been,” especially in the case of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, whose trains ran from 1902 to 1957 in Chicago’s western suburbs. What could have been saved? What should have been saved?  And, what can we learn today?

As you may know, ultimately nothing was saved, except the portion between DesPlaines Avenue and Laramie, which was taken over by the CTA in the early 1950s. That operates today as the outer portion of the Chicago Transit Authority‘s Forest Park branch of the Blue Line.

Speculation usually centers on whether the entire railroad could have been saved, bought by the State of Illinois, or at least, the portion to Wheaton. But in general, this section, the most viable part of the interurban, ran parallel to the Chicago & North Western‘s West Line, which continues to operate today under the aegis of Metra.

The State of Illinois made an offer to buy CA&E in 1956, and then backed out of the deal for various reasons. The only public entity that could have operated any portion of the railroad would have been the CTA, and yet their operating area was limited to most of Cook County.

Still, the CTA did some engineering studies.* In the short run, the idea was to put third rail shoes on some of the remaining PCC streetcars, and run a shuttle service between Forest Park and Wheaton. Just as with the CA&E operations between 1953-57, this would not have been a “one-seat ride” to the Loop.  (Some say these studies were made to demonstrate the impracticality of CTA actually doing it.)

In the long run, CTA would have ordered more new rapid transit cars, high speed versions of the single car units 1-50 that were built in 1960. These type of cars would also have been used if the CTA had been able to take over larger portions of the North Shore Line than the five miles that became the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line) in 1964.

In retrospect, the opening of the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway would have depressed ridership, so there is no way of knowing if such a CTA shuttle service would have been successful. But there was no way to pay for it, in the political context of the time, and therefore these plans were unrealized. But, if it had happened, most likely such a service would today be a treasured part of Chicagoland’s transit infrastructure.

But if we go back a little further in time, incredibly, there was rapid transit service operated by the CTA that ran to Mannheim and 22nd Street as late as 1951. This was the 5.6 mile long Westchester branch, a victim of budget cuts and expressway construction.

The Westchester branch was part of an ambitious mid-1920s Insull plan to create a high-speed CA&E bypass, similar to the North Shore Line’s Skokie Valley Route. However, there was less of a need for it, and by the time the Depression hit and Samuel Insull‘s empire collapsed, only 2.2 miles of it had been built off the CA&E main line, and local service was being provided by the Chicago Rapid Transit Company.

The Depression also put a stop to the pace of housing development in Bellwood and Westchester, as it had in Niles Center, where the CRT ran local service in a similar fashion. The “build it, and they will come” strategy was not unusual at the time, and had been successfully followed some years earlier when rapid transit service was extended to the Ravenswood neighborhood.

With the CRT in receivership, things remained “status quo” until the creation of the Chicago Transit Authority, which took over operations on October 1, 1947. In these heady early days, it was thought that modernization would reaped quick benefits, and there were efforts by the CTA to improve service to outlying areas, with the creation of extension bus lines and express buses.

Within a few years, however, there was nothing but red ink, and without taxing authority, the cash-strapped CTA had no choice but to cut unprofitable services wherever possible. The lightly-used Westchester branch was an obvious target for elimination, since CTA was a tenant, paying rent to the CA&E, who owned the tracks.

From CTA’s point of view, they saved money by eliminating rapid transit service west of DesPlaines Avenue, and tried to retain whatever ridership was there with replacement bus service, creating the #17 route, which continued to run for decades (and has now been completely replaced by parallel Pace suburban bus service, the #317).

Expressway construction was also a factor. The CA&E and CTA shared each other’s tracks, and compensated each other in turn. By the early 1950’s, these payments totaled about $250,000 per year and largely cancelled each other out. But a 2.5 mile section of the CTA’s Garfield Park/Met “L” would need to be relocated for five years, since it ran smack dab in the middle of where the Congress expressway would be built.

After nearly 50 years of joint operation on Chicago’s west side, coordinating the plethora of daily CTA and CA&E trains was difficult at best, and required near split-second timing. Schedules were complicated and there were various passing sidings, where expresses would be routed ahead of locals.

The CTA (and the City of Chicago’s) original idea for relocating Garfield service was for a wooden “L” structure along Van Buren Street. Presumably this grade separated service would have been fine with the CA&E, but the local alderman objected, and rather than face a lawsuit, which would have delayed the project, the City Council turned to Plan B– grade level rapid transit service, bisected by several cross streets.

This was originally promoted as a “street railway” service, which may be how they justified not using crossing gates. At first, it was thought that overhead wire could be used, but the Met cars did not have trolley poles, and this would have involved shifting around a lot of equipment. So, ultimately, the Van Buren Street temporary trackage used third rail without any more crossing protection than stop lights.

In 1951, CA&E management decided that this plan was unworkable for them, and would cause too many problems for efficient and safe operation. In a letter to their shareholders, CA&E proposed elimination of rail service on the interurban (presumably, freight service would continue), to be replaced by buses that would take riders from the western suburbs to the CTA Lake Street and Douglas Park “L”s.

CTA, for their part, anticipating that CA&E would soon become a bus operator only, began planning for a bus-to-rail transfer point between CA&E and CTA. At first, it was thought this would take place at Central Avenue, a point just west of where CTA’s own rails ended. But by 1953, this transfer point was moved west to DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park.

Meanwhile, existing bus operators in the western suburbs had successfully blocked CA&E’s plans to substitute bus service for rail. Therefore, they had no real alternative to cutting back rail service to DesPlaines Avenue. This is how service was operated from September 1953 to July 1957. By then, CA&E ridership had been decimated, adn the railroad successfully petitioned to “temporarily” abandon rail service.

The abandonment actually helped facilitate expressway construction near the DesPlaines River, since no temporary service would need to be built. The railroad, in a sense, was still “made whole,” since by 1959 new rails were put in place for a connection to the CTA DesPlaines terminal. These are plainly visible in an aerial view in the 1961 CTA Annual Report, but they were never used, and the CA&E did not resume regular passenger service, and was liquidated in 1961. Attempts to save the interurban were too little, too late, and the suburbs that would have benefited from continuing service refused to contribute with tax revenue.

Between 1948 and 1957, the CTA eliminated about 25% of the rapid transit system it had inherited from CRT. This was mainly by slashing lightly-used branch lines (Stockyards, Kenwood, Humboldt Park, Normal Park, Niles Center, and Westchester). At one point, the CTA even proposed turning over the Evanston branch to the North Shore Line, but this did not happen.

By 1964, it seems the CTA had changed its mind about branch lines, for in April of that year, the phenomenally successful Skokie Swift service began running between Dempster and Howard, over five miles of former CNS&M right-of-way. By this time, some federal funding was available through a pilot program. CTA had to buy half of the Swift trackage anyway, just to access Skokie Shops.

Here, the CTA used fast, frequent service and a large park-and-ride lot to attract riders. And although it scarcely seems possible that the Westchester branch could have been saved in 1951, it would really fill a need today.

Imagine a west side corollary to the Skokie Swift.

By the early 50s, Bellwood and Westchester were prime areas for the postwar housing boom. This is especially true since these areas would soon have access to an important new highway. Growth in Westchester was being held back, however, since the same developer that had owned much of the property since the 1920s wanted to build all the housing themselves, thereby limiting construction somewhat.

After the CTA abandoned the Westchester branch, the CA&E liquidated the property, and the proceeds were distributed to the shareholders, instead of being reinvested in the money-losing railroad. This was the first of CA&E’s large-scale liquidations, where various portions of the railroad were sold to benefit the stockholders.

Getting back to what “might have been,” imagine how well the CTA would be doing today, if it had built a large park-and-ride lot at Mannheim and 22nd Street in the 1950s and kept the Westchester branch. As the area boomed in the mid-1950s, this service would have had tremendous potential.

And while this did not come to pass, the need persists, and something like a replacement for the Westchester branch may still be in CTA’s future. The Illinois Department of Transportation is working on plans for expanding and improving I-290 in the western suburbs, as the Chicago Tribune reported on February 27, 2013:

State transportation officials presented a narrowed list of four proposals that they say will improve travel on the Eisenhower Expressway, all of which include adding a lane to the highway and also extending the CTA Blue Line.

The four proposals, all of which include widening the highway between Austin Boulevard and Mannheim Road, extending the Blue Line to Mannheim and express bus service extending westward from Mannheim, were presented to a community task force. They will be further evaluated by state transportation officials as they study ways to make Interstate Highway 290 more efficient, said a manager of the project, Peter Harmet, bureau chief of programming for the Illinois Department of Transportation.

So, what “might have been,” may still be yet. We shall see.

-David Sadowski

PS- Christopher J. Lemm writes:

After reading your January 2015 story on the CTA Westchester Branch, the picture of the train crossing Madison street in Bellwood brought back some great memories. I grew up in that house, my grandfather was Clarence Lemm, track foreman for the Aurora and Elgin Railroad, he died in 1936. My father followed in grandpa’s footsteps, he worked at CTA 43 years, he started as a clerk and retired as the head of insurance and pensions. When my brother and I were very young my dad would take us for rides on the Aurora and Elgin, he used grandpa’s Sunset Lines employee pin and we all road free of charge. Thank you for some great memories!

According to transit historian Art Peterson:

CTA prepared studies for operation of both the CA&E (from Wheaton to Desplaines Av.) and for the North Shore from the Loop to Waukegan.  The CA&E study was based on use of the pre-War PCCs; for the North Shore it would have been higher-performance rapid transit PCC cars and an A/B service pattern up the Skokie Valley.  Both went no place, for lack of suitable funding sources.  CTA was prepared to accommodate CA&E in the Congress-Dearborn-Milwaukee subway (the west side connection to that opened on June 22, 1958, by which time CA&E was freight only.)

Some knowledgeable sources reported that CTA retained a section of the Humboldt Park Branch after the “L” shuttle service quit running in the E50s, to use as a CA&E turnback/layup facility.  Humboldt Park was the “L” line that ran parallel and to the north of North Avenue, joining the Milwaukee Avenue “L” line at the North/Damen station.

I believe we are looking east near Central Avenue, where the line curved around the south end of Columbus Park. This is approximately where the CTA Blue Line goes through the Lotus Tunnel. A small portion of Columbus Park soon gave way to the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway.

I believe we are looking east near Central Avenue, where the line curved around the south end of Columbus Park. This is approximately where the CTA Blue Line goes through the Lotus Tunnel. A small portion of Columbus Park soon gave way to the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway.

An eastbound single car near Central Avenue, at the south end of Columbus Park, now the site of the Eisenhower expressway.

An eastbound single car near Central Avenue, at the south end of Columbus Park, now the site of the Eisenhower expressway.

The passing tracks in this photo are a clue that we are near the Gunderson Avenue station in Oak Park. The Forest Park gas tank is at rear, so we are looking west.

The passing tracks in this photo are a clue that we are near the Gunderson Avenue station in Oak Park. The Forest Park gas tank is at rear, so we are looking west.

Looking west where the rapid transit crossed the B&OCT. Behind the car, the freight line branched off in two directions, to the CGW and Soo Line.

Looking west where the rapid transit crossed the B&OCT. Behind the car, the freight line branched off in two directions, to the CGW and Soo Line.

A pair of Met cars crosses the B&OCT heading east. This has since been grade separated. The gas tank in the background was a Forest Park landmark for many years.

A pair of Met cars crosses the B&OCT heading east. This has since been grade separated. The gas tank in the background was a Forest Park landmark for many years.

Here the the same crossing, but now we are looking east. This is now where I-290 runs through.

Here the the same crossing, but now we are looking east. This is now where I-290 runs through.

CTA 6051-6052 at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in the 1950s. The Acme Feeds (7715 W. Van Buren) towers at are at the background. Among other things, they sold a product called Acme Worm Bouncer. After being abandoned for many years, the towers caught fire in 1980 and were demolished.

CTA 6051-6052 at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in the 1950s. The Acme Feeds (7715 W. Van Buren) towers at are at the background. Among other things, they sold a product called Acme Worm Bouncer. After being abandoned for many years, the towers caught fire in 1980 and were demolished.

This is one of my favorite shots. An eastbound single car passes cemeteries in Forest Park, having just crossed over the DesPlaines River. This is the approximate location of the Eisenhower expressway today. The train is curving towards the DesPlaines Avenue station. The iconic gas tank was removed many years ago.

This is one of my favorite shots. An eastbound single car passes cemeteries in Forest Park, having just crossed over the DesPlaines River. This is the approximate location of the Eisenhower expressway today. The train is curving towards the DesPlaines Avenue station. The iconic gas tank was removed many years ago.

An eastbound Westchester car passes by Concordia Cemetery at right, having just crossed the DesPlaines River. This is where the Eisenhower expressway runs today.

An eastbound Westchester car passes by Concordia Cemetery at right, having just crossed the DesPlaines River. This is where the Eisenhower expressway runs today.

This picture presents somewhat of a mystery. Car 2311, signed for Westchester, is identified as being in Maywood on July 21, 1934, with a 4000-series car behind it. There were some storage tracks east of First Avenue, but I am not sure whether CRT used these. Or perhaps these cars are near DesPlaines Avenue.

This picture presents somewhat of a mystery. Car 2311, signed for Westchester, is identified as being in Maywood on July 21, 1934, with a 4000-series car behind it. There were some storage tracks east of First Avenue, but I am not sure whether CRT used these. Or perhaps these cars are near DesPlaines Avenue.

Here, we are just east of First Avenue, with an eastbound train approaching. You can just make out the sign on the Refiner's Pride gas station behind the car. We are looking northwest. Commonwealth Edison occupies this site today.

Here, we are just east of First Avenue, with an eastbound train approaching. You can just make out the sign on the Refiner’s Pride gas station behind the car. We are looking northwest. Commonwealth Edison occupies this site today.

A westbound Westchester car crosses First Avenue in Maywood. East of here (right), the line ran at an angle before crossing the DesPlaines River. This is where the Illinois Prairie Path starts today. The "Refiner's Pride" gas station at left was part of a chain run by "Montana Charlie" Reid, who also owned a restaurant in Villa Park. An oil change business now occupies the site of the former gas station. Reid also owned Montana Charlie's Flea Market in Bolingbrook, along historic Route 66, which is still in operation.

A westbound Westchester car crosses First Avenue in Maywood. East of here (right), the line ran at an angle before crossing the DesPlaines River. This is where the Illinois Prairie Path starts today. The “Refiner’s Pride” gas station at left was part of a chain run by “Montana Charlie” Reid, who also owned a restaurant in Villa Park.  An oil change business now occupies the site of the former gas station. Reid also owned Montana Charlie’s Flea Market in Bolingbrook, along historic Route 66, which is still in operation.

On December 7, 1958, CA&E wood cars 319 and 320 operated the last passenger train on that venerable railroad as a charter. Here, we are at Fifth Avenue station looking east. After the CTA abandoned the Westchester branch, this station was repainted in CA&E colors, and the interurban took over all service here from 1951-57.

On December 7, 1958, CA&E wood cars 319 and 320 operated the last passenger train on that venerable railroad as a charter. Here, we are at Fifth Avenue station looking east. After the CTA abandoned the Westchester branch, this station was repainted in CA&E colors, and the interurban took over all service here from 1951-57.

While I'm not sure of the exact location, we are looking to the northwest along that portion of the CA&E main line, where it ran parallel to the CGW through Bellwood and Maywood.

While I’m not sure of the exact location, we are looking to the northwest along that portion of the CA&E main line, where it ran parallel to the CGW through Bellwood and Maywood.

We are looking west, with the IHB crossing in the background. 25th Avenue would be behind us, and Madison Street is to our left. Here, the CA&E ran parallel to the CGW. The Illinois Prairie Path runs here now.

We are looking west, with the IHB crossing in the background. 25th Avenue would be behind us, and Madison Street is to our left. Here, the CA&E ran parallel to the CGW. The Illinois Prairie Path runs here now.

A westbound Westchester car passing under the Indiana Harbor Belt. The two lines were grade separated in 1930-31. This is now the site of the Illinois Prairie Path.

A westbound Westchester car passing under the Indiana Harbor Belt. The two lines were grade separated in 1930-31. This is now the site of the Illinois Prairie Path.

A southbound Westchester train crosses Madison Street in Bellwood, where Marshall Avenue begins today. The house at right is still standing. The Bellwood station was just north of here, near where the line merged back into the CA&E main line. We are just west of Bellwood Avenue.

A southbound Westchester train crosses Madison Street in Bellwood, where Marshall Avenue begins today. The house at right is still standing. The Bellwood station was just north of here, near where the line merged back into the CA&E main line. We are just west of Bellwood Avenue.

A northbound train at Harrison Street, with new postwar housing in the background. In the foreground, sidewalks that were already about 20 years old go past an empty lot.

A northbound train at Harrison Street, with new postwar housing in the background. In the foreground, sidewalks that were already about 20 years old go past an empty lot.

Westchester car 2814 heading south at Harrison. A small child in blue jeans waits for the train to pass.

Westchester car 2814 heading south at Harrison. A small child in blue jeans waits for the train to pass.

A southbound single car passes storage tracks just north of Roosevelt Road, which was the original terminal before the line was extended in 1930.

A southbound single car passes storage tracks just north of Roosevelt Road, which was the original terminal before the line was extended in 1930.

A single Westchester car passes under the Illinois Central near the Roosevelt Road station.

A single Westchester car passes under the Illinois Central near the Roosevelt Road station.

A two car train passes under the Illinois Central near the Roosevelt Road station.

A two car train passes under the Illinois Central near the Roosevelt Road station.

Here we see the south end of the Roosevelt Road station.

Here we see the south end of the Roosevelt Road station.

A single car at the Roosevelt Road station.

A single car at the Roosevelt Road station.

Here, we are just south of Roosevelt Road, at the beginning of double track.

Here, we are just south of Roosevelt Road, at the beginning of double track.

We are just south of the Roosevelt Road station looking north. From here to Mannheim and 22nd, it was single track.

We are just south of the Roosevelt Road station looking north. From here to Mannheim and 22nd, it was single track.

The Chicago & West Towns Railways also had some private right-of-way in the western suburbs. Car 160 is shown near LaGrange in December 1945.

The Chicago & West Towns Railways also had some private right-of-way in the western suburbs. Car 160 is shown near LaGrange in December 1945.

PS- You can read more about Acme Worm Bouncer here.  You can also see some additional pictures of the Westchester branch here.