1A NSL 748 sb. on 6th St. Viaduct at Canal St. 8-12-51 Don Ross.
Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by guest contributor Larry Sakar, author of Speedrail: Milwaukee’s Last Rapid Transit? (published in 1991 by Interurbans Press).We thank Larry, Chris Barney, and Don Ross for sharing their information with our readers.
January 21 of 2018 marks the sad 55th anniversary of the end of the North Shore Line. I was 12 years old when the line was abandoned and neither rode nor saw it in operation as I grew up on Milwaukee’s northwest side nowhere near the NSL. But as a traction fan it is one of my favorites.
Here is a group of photos of the North Shore Line in service mostly in the city of Milwaukee. Each “Then” photo will be followed by one or more photos showing that same location in 2017. In a few cases the only thing changed is that the North Shore Line is missing. In others, not even the abandoned right-of-way remains. “Then ” pictures were taken by the photographers credited. All present day photos were taken by my friend and colleague, Chris Barney.
There are 36 pictures total. One original “Then” for each location and several views of how that location looks today. In some cases just one “Now” shot in others-more.
There wasn’t room to put in details about the site of the Harrison St. shops (5th St & Harrison Ave.). After being vacant since the former shops building was torn down around 1968, a private school bought the entire property and began building a charter school along the west side of the property extending all the way to the southeast corner of 6th & Harrison. The school will open for students next Fall (2018).
Chris Barney took every one of the present day photos and did an excellent job of matching them to the “Then” shots.
There are about 3 or 4 pics that did not scan well. #’s 7B & 7C are light. Both are scans of photocopies. They are from a microfilm that Milwaukee Public Library received in 1995. One day out of the blue the librarian who was then in charge of the Local History room called me. They had received this microfilm (roll film) entitled, “Subways Along Milwaukee Rapid Transit Lines.” I couldn’t understand what that could be since there was only one subway which never got any further than about a half block east of 8th & Hibernia Sts. As it turned out “subways” was a term for the bridges the Rapid Transit Lines crossed at streets. The purpose seemed to be to determine the clearance height that could be posted on the bridge but if that is so why were shots included at 16th, 27th & 35th Sts. and other locations where the Rapid Transit passed under the road? You wouldn’t need any clearance signs there. The Port Washington, MRK and Local Rapid Transit Lines of TM and the North Shore as far as College Ave. were all included. I copied almost every image on the film.
At the time I was part of TMER&THS The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Transit Historical Society. I obtained permission to have the film copied for them. It came out bad. It had an old silver negative which did not copy well. I returned the film to MPL and kind of forgot about it. A few years sgo I asked about it and nobody knew anything about it. It just vanished without ever being cataloged into the MPL collection and no one there now was there then. What TMER&THS did with their copy I do not know. I left the organization 14 years ago.
I hope you’ll like Chris’ and my efforts. The pictures are arranged geographically from downtown Milwaukee to Howell & Rawson Aves. in the city of Oak Creek. Oak Creek is still Milwaukee county, so when we say “in Milwaukee” we mean Milwaukee County. Another thing I did not point out. The photos of the 6th St. cut show a tall, round building in some. That is the old Town of Lake water tower which is no longer a water tower. It’s a south side landmark on 6th & Norwich. If you have CERA Bulletin 107 – “Route of the Electroliners,” look on page 47. You’ll see a picture of the 1939 CERA fan trip going across the Lakeside Belt Line bridge above the 6th St. cut and at the bottom a northbound NSL train passing under Norwich Ave. The water tower is prominent in the picture. The Town of Lake was annexed by and became part of the city of Milwaukee in 1955.
PS- No doubt you’ve seen many photos of the Milwaukee North Shore station on 6th & Michigan Sts. In nearly every shot looking north you see a tall building looming up in the left corner of the photo. The building has a round sort of structure in the center of its roof which most people assume is either a radio or TV antenna. That is the Wisconsin Tower building on the northwest corner of N. 6th St. and W. Wisconsin Ave. It used to be an office building but it was converted to condos about 10 years ago. The item on the top of the 20 story tower? Believe it or not it is a mooring mast for dirigibles like the Hindenburg which tells you the building was built in the 1930’s. The mast was never used. The other tall building seen in many NSL Milwaukee terminal photos is what used to be the Schroeder Hotel. It the ’70’s it became the Marc Plaza hotel named for its owner Greek millionaire Ben Marcus. This guy owned everything from theatres to the local Big Boy Restaurant chain. I think the hotel was sold when Marcus died. Today it is the Hilton City Centre.
Thanks to Don Ross for allowing the use of his photographs.
1B The 6th St. Viaduct in 1989. NSL rails still there. C.N.Barney
1C Looking north at 6th & Canal Sts on 10-18-17. The viaduct Was torn down in 2001 and replaced by 2 bridges which meet at street level at Canal St.
1D Looking slightly further north toward downtown Milwaukee. The tall building in the left background is the 20 story former Greyhound building on 7th & Wisconsin. C.N.Barney
1E Bridge #2 looking south at 6th & Canal Sts. 10-18-17 C.N.Barney
2A NSL 755 & 3 others going from 5th to 6th St. near Scott St. Bob Genack
2B When the NSL was abandoned this part of the p.r.o.w. was made into S. Baraga St., which takes cars to the I-94 on-ramp at S. 5th St. & W. Greenfield Ave. Everything in the left side of the picture was torn down for The I-94 freeway. 10-18-17 C.N.Barney
3A NSL 738 sb. At 5th & Mitchell Sts. Passing Notre Dame High School & St. Stanislaus Catholic Church. Frank Butts photo from the Don Ross collection.
3B The same location on 10-17-18. Only the North Shore Line is gone. C.N.Barney
4A NSL 750 & 251 at 5th & Chase in 1955. Don Ross
4B 5th & Chase on 9-22-17. C.N.Barney
5A Electroliner sb. at Harrison St. Bob Genack
5B View lkg. North toward Harrison Ave. Note same houses in right background as previous photo. 9-15-17 C.N.Barney
6A TM 878 nb. On Rt. 16 and NSL Birney at 6th & Oklahoma. Rt. 16 converted to buses in June 1947. Bob Genack
6B NSL city car 357 waits to head back to DT Milwaukee as car 704 leads a 6 car train also headed for downtown in 1948. Note streetcar tracks still in 6th St and Transport Co. buses at left. Don Ross collection
6C View of aband. NSL r.o.w. at 6th & Oklahoma 10-22-16 C.N.Barney
7A NSL 741 crossing Milwaukee Road tracks at 6th & Holt. 1941 Don Ross
7B Looking north toward bridge crossing Milwaukee Road at top (Holt Ave.) City of Milwaukee Engineers Dept. photo
7C Tracks descending into 6th St. cut at Howard Ave. 11-3-37 City of Milwaukee Engineers Dept.
7D Holt Ave crossing on 9-22-17. Holt Ave. connected to Morgan Ave. west of 6th St. post NSL abandonment (1-20-63) in 1967-68. The grade of 6th & Holt was lowered and a bridge over those streets was constructed. What little remains of the abandoned NSL r.o.w. at this location can be seen in the trees in the background. C.N.Barney
7E Another view of 6th & Holt. On and off ramps to I-94 out of picture at right. Cars are parked in the MCTS (Milwaukee County Transit System) Rt. 40 Freeway Flyer park ‘n’ ride lot. C.N.Barney 9-22-17
8A NSL 766 sb. at Norwich Ave. 10-2-49 Don Ross
8B The 6th St. cut served as a reminder of the NSL until May of 1988 when it was filled-in. We are looking south beneath the Norwich Ave. bridge on May 14, 1988. C.N.Barney
8C The cut looking south from atop the Norwich Ave. bridge. With no drainage or track ballast the cut would fill with water when it rained. C.N.Barney on 5-14-88
8D Looking north in the cut we see the Norwich Ave. underpass. The cut ended very abruptly at this point after the cut from Howard Ave. north was filled in some years earlier. Note Town of Lake water tower atop embankment at left.
8E NSL 706 heads south passing under the TM Lakeside Belt Line bridge while a two-car CERA Fan trip (using two TM 1100-series cars) makes a photo stop. This 1939 Fan trip, and one in 1948 where car 1122 backed down the Belt Line a short distance from Greenwood Jct. are the only known passenger operations over this line.
8F Abutments from the TM Lakeside Belt Line bridge near W. Waterford Ave. could still be seen in 1988. Here we see two of the piers that held legs of the bridge. C.N.Barney on 5-14-88
8G On May 14th, 1988 the cut was filled in and bridge at Norwich Ave. removed. View looks south from Howard Ave.
8H The 6th St. cut is gone without a trace as we see in this view looking west along the former TM Lakeside Belt Line route, south of Howard Ave. Garden plots are now sold and one can garden atop the grave of the NSL. C.N.Barney 9-22-17
8I Looking north on S. 6th St. between Howard and W. Warnimont Aves. C.N. Barney 9-22-17
8J Looking south at the same location as previous. The fence at right was built by the NSL and is all that remains to remind us that it was once there. 9-22-17 C.N. Barney
9A NSL 749 et al near Bolivar Ave. in “North Shore weather” 1955. Today this is where I-94 crosses the abandoned r.o.w. From this point south the r.o.w. embankment was removed and parts of it have now been built on. Don Ross
9B The literal ”end” of the abandoned r.o.w. in Milwaukee is at Plainfield Ave. C.N.Barney 9-15-17
10A Two NSL Silverliners and other cars are southbound at College Ave. Portions of the abandoned r.o.w. were purchased for the south campus of the Milwaukee Area Technical College Oak Creek campus in the 1970s. Bob Genack
10B No trace of the College Ave. bridge or r.o.w. remains in 2017. Looking east on College Ave, the NSL crossed under College where the white building in the left background stands. March, 1988 C.N. Barney
11A A 2 car train of Silverliners heads northwest toward Milwaukee beneath the Howell & Rawson Ave. bridges in 1955. Don Ross
11B In 2017 there is virtually no trace of the North Shore at the intersection of Howell & Rawson Avenues as seen in this view also looking northwest. The bridges were removed in 1967 and the streets were rebuilt. C.N.Barney
Don Ross just sent me these Milwaukee streetcar clippings. Sure brings back memories.
I don’t know who did the captioning for the Milwaukee Journal but some of those Milwaukee streetcar pictures were way off. The one from above of a car coming around a curve is in the Calvary Cemetery cut and the car is approaching the stop at what was then Hawley Rd. It is not in Wauwatosa. The shot of the cars lines up at the “Stadium stop” Is nowhere near Fairview Ave which ended at 60th St. It is on the private right-of-way going north toward Wells Street parallel to N. 52nd St. on the West Allis branch of Rt. 10. Cars turned north at the east end of the Calvary Cemetery cut while interurbans continued east to downtown. The shot that says the streetcar is nearing 9th Street is wrong. 9th Street is behind the photographer. Though you only see a fragment of it to the right of the streetcar that is Central Library’s 1957 addition which is called the annex. The car is almost at 8th St. Today the Milwaukee Public Museum would be on the left.
The viaduct stood for 2 years after streetcar service ended. The clever Transport Company donated it to the city. The powers that be fought over it trying to decide if they should attempt to convert it into a road, or maybe a bridge only for buses. Finally, they decided to just dismantle it since it was never a thru street to begin with. From the lakefront Wells goes west to just past 37th St. and dead-ends. It picks up again on the other side of the valley near 44th St and continues west to 68th. The Harwood Ave. station building was used first as an insurance company office, and later on as the sales office for a lot selling Christmas trees. TWERHS was supposedly going to save it but they didn’t. I remember it very well. It had a cement floor and at the back of the building there was a counter where you could buy candy, gum cigarettes, cigars, newspapers and weekly passes and ticket strips. My grandmother called the fare tickets “Car checks”. A week or two after streetcars ended we were going downtown again and she took a ticket out of her purse. I said, “Are we going to ride the streetcar again?” She said, No, there are no more streetcars. I said, “But how can that be? You still have car checks.” Of course she patiently explained that they could be used on the bus as well.
My grandfather worked at the original Harley-Davidson Plant across the Milwaukee Road tracks from Cold Spring shops. The only time I ever rode the Rt. 11 Vliet Street line was when my grandmother and I took it there and walked over from Vliet St. to the employee parking lot. In those days (ca. 1956) people seldom locked their cars. We waited for him to come out of work and “surprised.” Sure, he probably knew in advance. One time he did show my brother and I around the plant. He had to go up to the office on a top floor to collect his pay check. He took me to a window and said, “You see those buildings down there? That’s where they fix the streetcars.” I didn’t see any streetcars so I didn’t believe him.
The Milwaukee Road mainline from the Twin Cities ran right past the Harwood station and I Remember seeing the Hiawatha a couple of times. In 1965 my grandmother, mother and I rode it from Chicago to Milwaukee and sat in the Super Dome. I remember when we left Chicago and started going beneath those signal bridges around Western Avenue I ducked. Later on when Amtrak started up I rode the full length and half length GM and Burlington Dome cars they used on the Empire Builder. The present day Superliner lounge cars do not compare with the dome cars.
Illinois Terminal 277 in Edwardsville. Don’s Ril Photos: “277 was built by St Louis Car in 1913, #966. It was rebuilt in October 1951 with new seats and other modernized features. It was sold to the Illinois Railway Museum on March 9, 1956.” (Photo by Ward)
Boston double-end PCC 3338 on the Beacon Street line in February 1960. Don’s Rail Photos: “3338 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1945, #W6699, as DR&T 603. It was sold as MTA 3338 in 1959 and acquired by Trolley Inc in 1983. It was purchased by Seashore Trolley Museum in 1994.”
Chicago & West Towns 105 at the Riverside car barn in the 1930s. This car was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1915.
Portland Railway Light & Power “Master Unit” 810 in Portland, Oregon on July 3, 1948.
MBTA ex-Dallas “Texas Ranger” 3336 at Capen Street on the Ashmont-Mattapan “high speed trolley” on March 9, 1969. (Photo by McMurdo)
A classic view of Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee 714 on the Skokie Valley Route. Don’s Rail Photos: “714 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1926, #2890. It was modernized in 1939 and preserved in 1963 by the Illinois Railway Museum.” (James C. Barrick Photo)
On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)
Check out our new book Chicago Trolleys. Signed copies are available through our Online Store.
We would like to thank everyone who turned out for our Chicago Trolleys slide presentation last week as part of the Chicago Authors series at the Museums at Lisle Station Park. Watch this space for information about upcoming events.
This is our 198th 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 333,000 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.
As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”
We thank you for your support.
In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.
Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.
This remarkable Kodachrome image was taken on Canal Street in New Orleans on June 19, 1940. It was shot on size 828 film, which has an image area of 28x40mm, about 30% larger than 35mm. (828 film, which Kodak introduced in the late 1930s, was essentially 35mm film without sprocket holes, but with a paper backing like other roll film formats.) One of our regular readers writes, “The 4 tracks were taken out about 1948 when a number of the car lines that operated off of Canal were converted to trolley bus.” The location is the intersection of Canal and St. Charles. Car 444 is looping at the end of the St. Charles route and will be turning to the left in the picture. WSMB (now WWWL) was an AM radio station at 1350 on the dial. Its old call letters reflect its original ownership by the Saenger theater chain and Maison Blanche department store. Its studios were located in the Maison Blanche department store building at right, now the Ritz-Carlton hotel. The Saenger Theatre, another local landmark, is also on the right side of the picture. In the days before air conditioning, men used to wear white suits, as you see here, since white reflects more heat than darker clothing. When this picture was taken, France had just fallen to Nazi Germany. The US did not enter World War II directly until 18 months later.
Our theme today is points east, west, and south. We’re going off in three directions, every which way but north.
The West Towns map and photos of other properties come from our own collections. As always, to see a larger version of each photo, just click on it with your mouse. And, if you have useful information to add, please be sure to contact us.
A streamlined Kodak Bantam camera, using size 828 roll film, of a type that may have taken the New Orleans picture.
The same location today. The St. Charles line still loops as it did in the 1940 picture. Streetcars were absent from Canal Street for 40 years starting in 1964, but have returned. There is a crossover track, visible in this picture, connecting the two lines.
This close-up shows New Orleans Public Service car 444. One of our regular readers says, “It is not a Perley-Thomas built car but rather a Southern Car Company car built in 1914. Starting in 1914, all of the car bodies appeared the same starting with car #400 even though they were not all built by Perley-Thomas.” It was part of a group of 50 cars, numbered 400-449. Behind the streetcar, you can see part of the marquee for the Loew’s State Theatre (also known as the State Palace), at 1108 Canal Street. It opened in 1926, but is currently closed and awaiting restoration. You can see some pictures of that theater’s interior here.
A bus crosses Canal.
Loew’s State circa 1930. From the Wikipedia: “The Rogue Song is a 1930 romantic musical film which tells the story of a Russian bandit who falls in love with a princess, but takes his revenge on her when her brother rapes and kills his sister. The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production was directed by Lionel Barrymore and released in two versions, with and without sound. Hal Roach wrote and directed the Laurel and Hardy sequences and was not credited. The film stars Metropolitan Opera singer Lawrence Tibbett— who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance— and Catherine Dale Owen. Laurel and Hardy were third-billed; their sequences were filmed at the last minute and interspersed throughout the film in an attempt to boost its potential box office appeal. This film, which was MGM’s first all-talking (two-color) Technicolor film, is partially lost, as there are no known complete prints of this film. Fragments do exist.”
Loew’s circa 1940, showing I Love You Again, an MGM comedy starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, directed by W. S. Van Dyke. All three were associated with the Thin Man series of films, which were very popular.
A postcard view of Canal Street, showing the same general area as the 1940 slide, but looking from the opposite direction.
Chicago & West Towns
A Chicago & West Towns route map, from April 1942. By this time, only three streetcar lines were left: LaGrange, Lake, and Madison. The owner of the map crossed out (with has marks) some routes that were abandoned later. There was, by 1942, no track connection between the two north side lines and the LaGrange line. When the Lake and Madison lines were finally bustituted, the remaining streetcar fleet was moved at night in 1947 on a circuitous route via Chicago Surface Lines trackage.
The Chicago & West Towns was a major streetcar operator in Chicago’s western suburbs until April 1948, when the last line was converted to bus. Bus operation continues today as part of Pace, a public agency.
C&WT 127 and 104 in Maywood. The grade crossing at rear may be a clue as to the exact location. Don’s Rail Photos notes: “104 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1917. It was scrapped in 1948.” The 127 looks to be the older of the pair, built by McGuire-Cummings in 1914. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Joe writes: “The photo of C&WT cars 127 and 104 is in Maywood at 19th and Railroad Avenue looking north.”
C&WT 135, making a turn, is signed for Melrose Park, possibly on the Lake or Madison lines. Don’s Rail Photos: “135 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1919. It was scrapped in 1947.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Joe writes: “The photo of C&WT car 135 is looking east at Madison and 19th in Maywood. The apartment building is still there.” Andre Kristopans: “CWT 135 turning from W on Madison to N on 19th Ave.”
C&WT 134 at the North Riverside barn. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT 153, 140 and 119 on the LaGrange line. Comparison with some other photos in this series shows this location is DesPlaines Avenue just south of 26th Street in Riverside. We are looking north. Don’s Rail Photos: “153 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1927. It was scrapped in 1948. 140 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1924. It was rebuilt in 1939 and scrapped in 1948. 119 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1912. It was scrapped in 1948.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT 116, 115, and 158 at Cermak and Kenton, east end of the LaGrange line. Riders heading east could change here for Chicago Surface Lines route 21 streetcars like the one shown at rear. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT 152 is heading east on private right-of-way on the busy LaGrange route. The exact location is about 82 Park Place in Riverside. Car 152 has just crossed the DesPlaines River, passing through the Forest Preserves after stopping at the Brookfield Zoo. From here, it will turn north on Woodside Drive, which changes into DesPlaines Avenue, before heading east on 26th Street. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
The same location today.
C&WT 112 crosses the Indiana Harbor Belt on the LaGrange line, with a steam train off in the distance. Don’s Rail Photos: “112 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1912. It was scrapped in 1948.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT 101 is turning from 26th Street onto DesPlaines Avenue in Riverside on the LaGrange line. Don’s Rail Photos: “101 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1917. It was scrapped in 1948.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT 134 and 124 meet at Madison and Harlem. Note how Madison took a jog when crossing between Oak Park and Forest Park. We are looking east. Don’s Rail Photos: “124 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1914. It was rebuilt in 1936 and scrapped in 1948.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
Madison and Harlem today. A route 318 Pace bus is turning from Harlem onto Madison. Pace is the successor to the West Towns. At some point, it appears that Madison was widened to eliminate the jog seen in the earlier photo.
C&WT 101 is at Lake and Austin in Oak Park, the east end of its route. Two Chicago Surface Lines streetcars, including 1743, are across Austin Boulevard at the west end of route 16. Don’s Rail Photos: “101 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1917. It was scrapped in 1948. 1743 was built by CSL in 1923. It was rebuilt as one-man in 1949.” The car at left looks like a 1941 Packard model One Twenty– very stylish. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
A 1941 Packard One Twenty sedan.
C&WT 136 and 132 on Lake Street just west of Austin Boulevard in suburban Oak Park. This was the east end of the line. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
Lake Street just west of Austin Boulevard today.
Here, C&WT 119 appears to be crossing the Illinois Central at 26th Street, since that is an IC caboose at the rear of the passing freight train. Don’s Rail Photos: “119 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1912. It was scrapped in 1948.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
Here, we are looking north along DesPlaines Avenue just south of 26th Street in Riverside. Cars from the LaGrange line turned east on 26th to Harlem, where they continued north to Cermak Road. Cars may be operating on a single track here due to track work. Southbound C&WT 107 waits for 161 to cross over to the northbound track, while a work car is on 26th. Don’s Rail Photos: “107 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1912. It was scrapped in 1948. 161 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1927. It was scrapped in 1948.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
A close-up of the previous image. This may be C&WT work car 12. Don’s Rail Photos says, “12 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1912. It was scrapped in 1948.”
The top of this building, on 26th Street just east of DesPlaines Avenue in North Riverside, has been altered, but it is still recognizable as the same building in the previous picture.
C&WT 152 on the LaGrange line. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT 144 at the North Riverside car barn. Don’s Rail Photos: “144 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1924. It was scrapped in 1947.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT 164 on Lake Street just west of Austin Boulevard in Oak Park. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT 107 and a work car (12 or 13, hard to tell) plus a flat car on DesPlaines Avenue just south of 26th Street in Riverside. Don’s Rail Photos: “107 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1912. It was scrapped in 1948.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT 158 crossing the Illinois Central at 26th Street in Riverside. I believe the car is heading east. If it was heading west, the sign on the front of the car would probably advertise service direct to the Brookfield Zoo. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT 158 and 157 cross on the bridge over the DesPlaines River (LaGrange line). I believe we are looking south. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT 100, most likely at the North Riverside car barn. Car 130 is at right. Don’s Rail Photos: “100 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1917. It was scrapped in 1948. 130 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1914. It was scrapped in 1948.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT 141 at the North Riverside car barn. Don’s Rail Photos: “141 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1924. It was rebuilt in 1939 and the body sold as a shed in 1948. It was purchased by Electric Railway Historical Society in 1958. It went to Illinois Railway Museum in 1973 and began restoring.” The 141 is now in operating condition. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT 157 and 155 meet on DesPlaines Avenue and 26th street. Single track operation is in effect due to track work. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT line car 15 at an undetermined location. Don’s Rail Photos: “15 was built by Pullman Car in 1897 as Suburban RR 512. It was renumbered 515 and rebuilt as 15 in 1927. It was rebuilt in 1940 and scrapped in 1948.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT 156 is on Cermak at Cicero Avenue. The Pinkert State Bank (built in 1919) at rear was located at 4810-12 W. Cerak (22nd Street) in Cicero. It featured prominently in the government’s tax evasion cases against Al and Ralph Capone. Don’s Rail Photos: “156 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1927. It was rebuilt in 1942 and scrapped in 1948.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT 140 on the LaGrange line. Don’s Rail Photos: “140 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1924. It was rebuilt in 1939 and scrapped in 1948.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT 136 and 132 are eastbound on one of the lines that terminated at Austin Boulevard (either Lake or Madison). (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Joe writes: “The photo of C&WT cars 132 and 136 may have been taken at Lake and 25th, the west end of the Lake Street line.” Andre Kristopans: “CWT 132, 136 at west end of Lake St line at 25th Ave.”
Three C&WT streetcars, including 103 and 104, are on Lake Street at Austin Boulevard. We are looking to the east, which explains why the head car is signed for Maywood. According to Don’s Rail Photos, both 103 and 104 were built by McGuire-Cummings in 1917 and scrapped in 1948. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
The laundry in the previous photo is now a beauty parlor.
C&WT 141 is westbound, crossing the DesPlaines River on the LaGrange line. This car, sole survivor of the fleet, has been restored and you can ride it at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT 128, on either the Madison or Lake lines, is signed for Melrose Park. Not sure which railroad that tower belongs to. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Andre Kristopans: “CWT 128 is crossing the Soo Line on Madison west of Jackson (a half mile west of Desplaines Av.).”
C&WT snow sweepers 9 and 5 in their element at the North Riverside car barn. Don’s Rail Photso: “5 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1913. It was scrapped in 1948. 9 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1928. It was sold to Sand Springs Ry in 1948.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
C&WT 156 is eastbound on Cermak at Ridgeland in front of the old Berwyn Theatre, which opened in 1924. It was damaged by fire in 1990 and demolished. This picture was probably taken not long after the theatre was modernized in 1936. Don’s Rail Photos: “156 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1927. It was rebuilt in 1942 and scrapped in 1948.” (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
C&WT 151 on the Lake line, possibly at the west end. Don’s Rail Photos: “151 was built by McGuire and Cummings in 1924. It was scrapped in 1947.” (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
C&WT 151 on the Lake Street line. Don’s Rail Photos: “151 was built by McGuire and Cummings in 1924. It was scrapped in 1947.” (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
South Shore Line
CSS&SB 10, signed for South Bend. (Photo by Anderson)
CSS&SB 24. Don’s Rail Photos: “24 was built by Pullman in 1927. It was lengthened and air conditioned, and got picture windows in 1947.” (Photo by Anderson)
CSS&SB 109 in the yard at Chicago in the mid-1960s. Don’s Rail Photos: “109 was built by Pullman in 1926. It was lengthened in 1944. Air conditioning and picture windows came in 1949.” (Walter Broschart Photo)
The way to distinguish South Shore Line street running photos from one city to another usually includes counting the number of tracks. Only East Chicago was double tracked. However, this is Michigan City, as there are two tracks for a short distance near the station seen at rear, since many runs begin and end here. This picture, showing car 105 and train, was taken on August 6, 1948. The station building still exists but is no longer in use.
CSS&SB cars 2 and 504 at the Michigan City station on August 30, 1960 (note the 1960 Ford at left). Don’s Rail Photos: “2 was built by Pullman in 1926.” Frank Hicks writes: “This interurban freight trailer has a more unusual history than most. It was built for ISC as an interurban combine, and ran on that system’s lines in Indiana for five years until ISC became part of the great Indiana Railroad system. IR rebuilt the three cars of the 375-377 series into railway post office cars and put them to use in this unusual capacity. The three RPO’s survived on IR until the end of interurban service in 1941, at which time all three were sold to the only other interurban line then operating in Indiana: the South Shore. The South Shore converted 376 into a line car while 375 and 377 became express package trailers. These cars were designed to run in passenger trains and had control lines so that they could be run mid-train; they were often used to transport newspapers. Car 504 was retired in 1975 and acquired by IRM, which has repainted it and put it on display.” (Photo by Meyer)
Chicago Lake Shore & South Bend Ry. (predecessor of the South Shore Line) car 68 at an unknown location near a wooden Chicago “L” car. This photo is a real mystery, since, as far as I know, this car has not been preserved (although car 73 is being restored). Joe writes: “Car 68 is Lake Shore Electric, not CLS&SB, built by Brill in 1903. The car behind it is one of the LSE’s Barney & Smith interurban cars.” That clears up the mystery. The information that came with this negative was incorrect.
CSS&SB 27 near the Art Institute of Chicago on May 7, 1963. (Photo by Anderson)
CSS&SB 111 at Randolph Street Terminal in downtown Chicago in May 1953. This station has since been rebuilt and is now underneath Millennium Park.
A three-car CSS&SB train, including car 31, makes a photo stop on an early Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip near Wilson, Indiana.
CSS&SB 105 heads up a six-car train near Miller, Indiana on June 1, 1939. This appears to be a photo stop on a fantrip. (Photo by Anderson)
Chicago, South Shore & South Bend freight locos 902 and 903 in Michigan City, Indiana. (Photo by Anderson)
Even the city trolley lines of Gary Railways, operating between 1908 and 1947, had an interurbanish character. Industrial development in the area meant there were large tracts of land reserved for future use. In 1938-39, Central Electric Railfans’ Association (CERA) ran three fantrips on Gary Railways interurbans in their waning days. We have run pictures from some of those trips in previous posts.
Here is a timeline of transit developments in the Gary area.
Gary Railways 101. The sign says street railway service in Gary was inaugurated 21 years ago with this car. If service began in 1912, that would date this photo to 1933.
Gary Railways 24.
Gary Railways 128.
Gary Railways 120.
Gary Railways 15 at Kennedy siding on the Hammond line on March 9, 1941. According to the photo information, this car was built by Cummings in 1926.
Gary Railways 16, signed for Hammond.
Gary Railways 14, at a loop on the Hammond line, on October 27, 1940. According to the photo information, it was built by Cummings in 1926.
Gary Railways 19 at Tolleston, with both poles up. This lightweight safety car was built by Cummings Car & Coach in 1927. This car body, sole survivor of the fleet, is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.
Gary Railways 27.
Gary Railways 22 on May 16, 1940. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)
Gary Railways 20 on July 21, 1946.
Gary Railways 22.
Gary Railways 12. Don’s Rail Photos: “12 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was scrapped in 1946.” (Jack Beers Photo)
Gary Railways car 19, the only car preserved, on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip. This matches a picture we previously published in our previous post More Hoosier Traction (September 2, 2015). Bill Shapotkin said that other picture was taken “taken on March 19, 1939 — the day AFTER the last day of service on the Indiana Harbor (and Hobart) lines.” The difference in tonality between the two pictures may simply be the difference between panchromatic and orthochromatic film.
A close-up of the previous picture.
Gary Railways 9 at Hobart, Indiana in 1934.
Gary Railways cars 12 and 9.
Gary Railways 14.
Gary Railways 19.
Gary Railways 17 at the North Broadway loop.
Gary Railways 51.
Johnston Traction 311, a double-truck Birney car (ex-Bangor, Maine) on June 24, 1956. Don’s Rail Photos: ” 307 thru 311 came from Bangor Hydro Electric in 1941 where they were 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18. They were scrapped in 1957 except for 311 which was preserved at Rockhill Trolley Museum which acquired it in 1960.” Audio recordings of car 311 in service in Johnstown are included on Railroad Record Club LP #23.
Fort Collins Municipal Railway Birney car 25 in October 1950. Don’s Rail Photos: “2nd 25 was built by Brill Car Co in December 1922, #21530, as VR&P 1520. It was sold as FCM 25 in 1946. It was sold to James Stitzel in 1953 and resided next to the former Midland Terminal depot in Victor, CO, until it was sold to a South Carolina party about 1980. It was cosmetically restored. In 1998 it was sold to the Charlotte Trolley painted as South Carolina Public Service Co 407. It was sold to Fort Colins Municipal in 2008 and is being restored as 25.” (Robert C. Gray Photo)
Fort Collins Municipal Railway 24 on the Mountain Street line in October 1950. Don’s Rail Photos: “2nd 24 was built by Brill Car Co in December 1922, #21530, as Virginia Railway & Power Co 1530 It was sold as FCM 24 in 1946 but seldom operated. Parts kept second Car 25 operating.” (Robert C. Gray Photo)
Fort Collins Municipal Railway 26 in 1946. Don’s Rail Photos: “26 was built by American Car Co. in November 1922, #1324 as CERy 7. It was sold as FCM 26 it in 1924. It was sold to Henry Ford Museum and moved to Michigan in 1953 where it is on static display. It was operated several times on the trackage of the Department of Street Railways.” (Richard H. Young Photo)
Lehigh Valley Transit 702 and 812 on a fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos: “702 was built by Southern Car Co in 1916. It was rebuilt on August 8, 1931 and scrapped on January 8, 1952. 812 was built by St Louis Car in 1901 as 159. It was rebuilt as 999 in 1914 and rebuilt as 812 in 1921. It was scrapped in November 1951.”
Lehigh Valley Transit 702 and 812 on a Liberty Bell route fantrip, probably not long before service ended in 1951. Ed Skuchas adds, “The LVT fan trip cars are sitting on the spur at the LVT station in Perkasie at Walnut and Penn St.”
The former LVT station in Perkasie is now the headquarters for the local historical society.
Not sure offhand where this picture was taken, along the LVT Liberty Bell interurban route between Philadelphia and Allentown. Ed Skuchas: “The “tunnel” photo is the underpass in Perkasie under the Reading tracks. Location is Walnut and 7th. The photo was taken from a block back at about 6th and Walnut.”
A close-up of the previous picture.
The former LVT underpass in Perkasie today.
The ramp you see is at Norristown, and shows how Lehigh Valley Transit interurban cars descended to street level to continue north to Allentown. Service on the Liberty Bell Limited ended in September 1951. Service between Philadelphia and Norristown, started by the Philadelphia & Western, continues today under SEPTA.
Philadelphia & West Chester Traction (later Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co.) cars 86, 73 and 83 at 69th Street Terminal in 1936. Don’s Rail Photos: “73 was built by Brill Car Co in April 1927, #22212. It became SEPTA 73 in 1970 and sold to Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in 1990. 83 was built by Brill Car Co in March 1932, #22980. It became SEPTA 83 in 1970 and sold to Middletown & Hummelstown in 1982.”
Philadelphia Suburban Transportation car 84, a 1932 Brill “Master Unit,” on the West Chester line. This long line was mainly single-track with occasional passing siidngs such as this one.
Philadelphia Suburban double-end cars 14 and 18 on West Chester Pike, April 25, 1954. Buses replaced trolley cars in June so that West Chester Pike could be widened.
Brilliner 10 is on side-of-the-road trackage on the Philadelphia Suburban’s West Chester line, which was bustituted in 1954.
A close-up of the previous photo.
Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co. double-ended car 12 at 69th Street and Garrett Road on April 14, 1951. It is outbound on the Ardmore line.
Lehigh Valley Transit high-speed, lightweight interurban car 1000 at the 69th Street Terminal in 1947. This car, formerly Cincinnati & Lake Erie 125, was sold to LVT in 1938 for use on the Liberty Bell Limited line between Philadelphia and Allentown, and was scrapped in 1952. (Cliff Scholes Photo)
The double-end Bullet cars on the Philadelphia & Western were not the only Bullets. There were also some single-ended cars such as Bamberger 125, shown here in Ogden, Utah. Don’s Rail Photos: “125 was built by Brill in 1932, #22961, as Fonda Johnstown & Gloversville 125. It was sold as Bamberger 125 in 1939 and retired in 1952. The body was sold to Utah Pickle Co.”
Boston double-end PCC 3327, signed for Heath on the MBTA Green Line “E” branch (formerly called Arborway), is heading up the Northeastern Incline from the Huntington Avenue Subway in this March 1974 view.
MBTA double-end PC 3346 at Mattapan on March 31, 1978. These cars were painted red, since the Ashmont-Mattapan branch line is considered an extension of the Red Line subway.
Outbound double-end PCC 3345 at Ashmont in August 1968.
3345 at Ashmont in August 1968 with a standing room crowd. Despite the roll sign, the Ashmont-Mattapan tracks are separate from Boston’s Green Line system.
3330 at Ashmont in August 1968.
MBTA 3296, operated in multiple units, at the old North Station on September 28, 1970.
Boston stretcar 5202 at Valley Road on the Ashmont-Mattapan line on February 11, 1935. This “light rail” line continues in service with PCC cars. (M. L. Young Photo)
Odds and Ends
A view of the Seattle monorail at its downtown terminal in 1975. The monorail was built to serve the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. (Walter Broschart Photo)
This 1958 picture shows the old Garfield Park “L” crossing the area now occupied by the Kennedy expressway. The “L” was replaced by the Congress Expressway median line on June 22, 1958, after which these tracks were removed. But prior to that, they had to be shored up with new supports due to excavation work for the new highway, which opened on November 5, 1960. We ran another picture taken at this location in our previous post Some Thoughts on “Displaced” (August 30, 2016). You can also see a 1957 Chevy in the picture, plus an early Volkswagen. The last year for the split rear window Beetles was 1953, so this one is later.
This picture of various Chicago, Aurora & Elgin trains was taken around September 1953 at DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park. Construction is underway to reconfigure the terminal for a new track arrangement, where CA&E trains will no longer head downtown, but will terminate and loop here. The wooden ramp in the background was built so that CTA trains could loop without crossing CA&E tracks, which were no longer going to be connected to the CTA. This new arrangement continued until the CA&E quit operating passenger service on July 3, 1957.
The three Chicago Rapid Transit cars shown here are at 22nd and Mannheim, the end of the Westchester branch. The occasion was a February 12, 1939 Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip. We have posted other photos from this excursion in previous posts. There was a photo stop scheduled at this location from 1:15 to 1:30 p.m.
Illinois Terminal 273 in Springfield. (Walter Broschart Photo)
Illinois Terminal 274 in Decatur at 9:25 a.m. on August 10, 1954. This interurban combine car was built by the St. Louis Car Company in 1913. This was westbound train #61. This picture was taken using Kodak Super-XX film (4″ x 5″ size). (John A. Rehor Photo)
Jack Bejna writes:
Hi David, Here are two images that I think you’ll like. First, an eastbound CA&E train passes the tower at Laramie. In the left background is the CA&E freight station (I think), and the CA&E storage yard. The second image is a shot of CA&E 304 at the freight station after quite a bit of creative Photoshopping to improve an otherwise so so image taken in the 1920s. Enjoy, Jack
PS- My never ending search for CA&E was rewarded with this route map (circa 1940) that I had never seen before.
We are pleased to report that hi-resolutions scans for 12 more issues* of Surface Service, the Chicago Surface Lines emplyee magazine, have been added to our E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story (available in our Online Store). This totals 200 additional pages of information.
*October and November 1942, February and March 1943, October, November and December 1944, May, July and August 1945, April and May 1946
Work continues on our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys, which is now in the layout and proofreading stage. The expected publication date is September 25th of this year. We will keep you advised as things progress.
Help Support The Trolley Dodger
This is our 182nd 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 284,000 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.
As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”
We thank you for your support.
In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.
Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.
Tony Manthos: “Birney 93 (very elaborate 3), destination boards read “Willard via Third.” Looks like end of line loop in pretty remote spot.” Frank Hicks: “This is the Jamestown Street Railway in Jamestown, NY. This exact car (this isn’t actually a Birney, it’s a 1926 St. Louis Car Company product*) is currently being restored by a group there.” http://jamestowntrolley.org/trolrest/index.html
I have been struggling to identify some trolley-related photos which came in mixed auction lots.
One significant score this morning was interurban 302, which I found to be Jamestown Westfield & NW. Others remain a mystery. Do you think you would have time to take a look at them?
Thanks and regards.
Tony Manthos London UK
Thanks for sharing. We’ll see what our readers think. Likewise, I am sure they would also like to see the pictures that you have identified, including interurban 302.
If you can shed any light on these photos, you can either leave a Comment on this post, or write us directly at:
Tony Manthos: “Here is the photo of no. 128. I am hoping that this is San Diego Elec. Ry. 128 (St. Louis Car Co. 1912). I understand the series had centre doors but they were removed in 1924. I can’t read the signs on the side and front. The car on the right seems to have the same sign, but only the H of the first word is visible. The box-like appendage on the roof seems to be a feature of SD cars. The flame shaped streetlight globes are distinctive. Are they a SD feature? There are 5 trolley cars in the picture, which seems a lot for a relatively quiet street. My big question is this – No. 128 and some others were apparently sold to make private residences around1937, but the California license plate on the auto has a 1948 tag in the corner. I hope you can make sense of this. Many thanks.” Don Ross: “The 128 was Municipal Ry of San Francisco.” Tunnelstation writes: “The cars you think are SD cars are indeed San Francisco Municipal Railway streetcars. The location is on Duboce Street passing the “New” Mint just off of Market street. In the background is where the Sunset Tunnel (built in 1928) is located, which took the Muni cars through the hills to the Inner Sunset District on their way to the Beach and the Pacific Ocean where the “N” Judah Street line ended in a loop.”
James B. Holland writes:
The above is clearly San Francisco on Duboce with Market Street behind the photographer and Church Street the first intersection in the distance. Part way up the hill in the distance the tracks cross the right-sidewalk to enter the Sunset Tunnel (the picture is not clear but it does appear to show the tunnel portal outline itself!). The photographer is facing West which is Outbound. The strong cliff on the right supports the San Francisco Mint.
The Trolleys are on top of the current entrance for the “N” and “J” lines into the Market Street Subway. Indeed, the car coming toward us has “N” in the cube on the roof immediately behind the doors.
The “trestle” photo hints at West Penn but could be most any ‘smaller’ interurban line up and over a mainline RR!
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You … for these excellent emails on trolleys. A native of Pittsburgh, I lived a decade in Zion, IL, following my stint in Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club! This is the latter 1960s and early 1970s! After this I did 3.5+decades in San Francisco but am now in upstate NY!
Duboce and Market today.
Tony Manthos: “There is a vertical diamond lozenge logo on the cab side which looks like it might be a Ft. Dodge, Des Moines & Southern. Looks like edges to it so it could be a plate. Mighty steep grade it’s on. I can’t see any headlights and what’s even stranger, no pole and no wire. If there was a wire would that guy be on the boxcar roof? Has it been converted to battery power or internal combustion?” Don Ross: “The loco seems to be FtDDM&S but it is a little shaky.”
Tony Manthos: “All I can see on the sweeper is No.6 under the front middle window.” Don Ross: “I think the other sweeper was Third Avenue Ry.” http://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/dr180.htm Frank Hicks: “Sweeper 6 – this is the Chicago & West Towns.”
Tony Manthos: “As for the trestle, it’s a long shot, just in case you have encountered it before or know the site. The main line underneath is very well maintained. They obviously didn’t want an interurban diamond getting in their way.” Don Ross: “The trestle was Milwaukee at Grafton.” http://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/dr2672.htm On the other hand, Scott Greig says, “The Milwaukee Electric viaduct identified as Grafton is actually the viaduct near Mequon quarry. The view is looking north, from the side of Highway 57.”
Tony Manthos: “Interurban 818. The snow tempted me to Denver & Intermountain 818 but I believe it had a center door.” Don Ross: “818 is Denver. The center door was only on one side.” http://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/dr2234.htm
Tony Manthos writes:
I am blown away by the response from your readers. Very many thanks to you and all of them.
I know where to go if I get more of the same.
I had actually already identified the little Jamestown car and have been in correspondence with the guys who are doing the restoration. They kindly sent me a photo similar to mine taken at the same spot and one of the scene today, taken from the same place on the sidewalk. It hasn’t changed much. The loop is paved and the local bus turns on it. They also sent me photos of when they rescued it – it was a fishing shack on a nearby lake and they had to haul it out of thick trees. They found a good space to work on it, in the old depot, and they are doing a first rate job.
Unfortunately a big wrench has been thrown into the works, in the shape of a theatrical company which is going to convert the depot into a theatre venue in honor of Lucille Ball, who was born in Jamestown, and they don’t feel a trolley is compatible. The restoration group is in despair because they have no place to move to and continue the work. I did suggest they spread a rumor that Lucy used to go to school in that trolley but my contact had already tried that and the committee shot it down. I wish I could do something to help them out.
Thanks again and best regards.
Another Mystery Photo
MBTA (Boston) PCC 3147 at an unidentified location in October 1966. Could this be the old Braves Field loop? Tunnelstation writes:”The Boston PCC picture is located at the end of the “C” line near the Chestnut Hill Reservoir off Beacon Street. The scene is the exit from the Reservoir Car yard out to the street which also serves as the end of the line return loop going to Downtown Boston. That is one of the oldest continuous running trolley lines in America and is still in service today using cars built in Japan.” Beacon Street is the MBTA Green Line “C” branch.
The general area of the 1966 photo. That may be the same building at left, with the fire escape.
A contemporary aerial view.
Phil Bergen writes:
The second color Boston photo is indeed the same large building that trolleys loop around at the corner of Beacon Street and Chestnut Hill Avenue.
The only remaining portion of Braves Field that shows on the Sanborn map is the section marked Pavilion A. The stadium has gradually been reduced in size from its baseball configuration. It was the original home field of the AFL Boston (New England) Patriots and later became the property and home field of Boston University. After BU dropped football, it has evolved into a soccer/field hockey/intramural multipurpose field.
A map showing the Braves Field loop in 1916. A portion of this old ballpark still exists.
We recently came across some interesting photos showing the last days of steam operation on the Brooklyn East District Terminal Railroad, which was a rail-marine terminal that operated until 1983. Small steam engines were used until October 25, 1963. These had been converted from coal to oil in the 1930s. A number of these locos have been preserved.
The Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Railroad was a “pocket” railroad, one with no connection to other railroads by land. It had a main pocket yard on the Brooklyn waterfront at Kent Avenue from North 4th Street (the PRR N. 4th St. yard, immediately north of the Domino Sugar plant and the Williamsburgh Bridge, in an area formerly known as Palmer’s Docks), extending north to North 10th Street and east inland only a few blocks, and a small yard directly across Newtown Creek in Queens, Pidgeon Street Terminal, and a third yard, Navy Terminal, down at the Brooklyn Navy Yard (New York Naval Shipyard), but this latter was strictly for in-yard transfer. It now (Jan 01) appears that there was a second Queens yard. All commerce by rail was via carfloats, barges with rails on them, which were moved by tugboats across or along the East, North (Hudson), and Harlem Rivers to railheads at St. George on Staten Island (B&O) or in the Bronx (EL, NYC, NH) or New Jersey (PRR, CNJ, LV) where connections to the mainland railroads were available. It is also possible that connections with the LIRR via its marine terminals in Bay Ridge or LIC might have given mainland access via the New Haven over the Hell Gate Bridge but I have never seen any indication this was so, nor is the LIRR listed on the BEDT’s Feb 1964 connections list. Historian Tom Flagg advised 19 Jan 01 that there was even a Warren St. Terminal in Jersey City which only lasted from about 1910-1915 until shortly after 1920; its track plan looked much more like a Christmas Tree layout, with a loop, than it did a real railroad. Tom suggests that perhaps that’s why it didn’t last long! Further, he advised that the BEDT became a common carrier in 1940, which certainly changes its status (source: Plowden, April 1961, article on BEDT in Railroad Magazine). Aha, interstate commerce for sure!
Several of these color images were Ektachrome slides that have faded to red over the past 50 or 60 years. Usually, red Ektachromes date to around 1956 or so– the stability of the dyes was eventually improved. The problem is not the red dye layer itself, but the greens and blues that receded, leaving practically nothing but red.
People used to think these were unsalvageable, other than to convert them to black and white. But with today’s digital technology, it is possible to restore many of these classic images to something like their original appearance. To show you what is possible, we are including the “before” versions in addition to the “after.”
PS- If you are interested in knowing what became of the BEDT property after it was abandoned in 1983, go here. There is also a very comprehensive site devoted to the BEDT here.
BEDT 0-6-0 #16 in Brooklyn, NY on October 9, 1982.
The BEDT tug “Invincible” nudges a car float on the Brooklyn side of the East River in June 1956.
You can hear the sounds of steam on the Brooklyn East District Terminal in our CD collection Twilight of Steam, available through our Online Store.
From The New York Times – Oct. 26, 1963:
DIESEL REPLACES LAST IRON HORSE
Buffs Sad, Engineer Happy at Brooklyn Ceremony
By John F. Callahan
The last regularly operating steam locomotive in the East died yesterday.
With a hiss of steam that roared and then faded to a gasping whisper, No. 10 ended a 44-year run in the shuttling yard of the Brooklyn East District Terminal.
Begrimed, and clouded in her own steam from the last of her banked-down boiler fires, the old black, 28-foot six-wheeler looked tired– especially alongside the bright blue, 44-foot diesel electric locomotive that has taken its place.
A few sad facial expressions were noticeable among steam locomotive buffs who were snapping pictures from all angles. But there was an absence of sadness on the part of Joseph Keane, engineer on No. 10.
Too Hot For Comfort
“There’s no use feeling badly,” he remarked. “The diesel is better in every way, and I can’t forget how hot that cab was in the winter, as well as in the sweltering summer. Just step up in there and see for yourself, and mind, the fire is about out.”
Then he was joined in the ventilated cab of the diesel locomotive, where there was an air-cooled supply of drinking water and but three main switch- and engine-throttles, compared with more than 20 knobs, handles, bars and cords, and no drinking water, in old No. 10’s cab.
The terminal is one of three in Brooklyn that transport freight cars on floats between the New Jersey side of the Hudson River and piers along the Brooklyn side of the East River, Brooklyn’s Eastern District’s No. 10 is one of four sister steam locomotives that were replaced yesterday by four diesel electric engines.
Nicholas G. Cutler, a railroad man since 1926 and vice president of operations for the terminal, said he would miss the sound of locomotive steam.
“It was an old-world sound, and it was good to hear on a bitter winter day; it seemed to warm one a bit,” he remarked, looking down into the yard from his second-floor office window at 86 Kent Avenue in the Williamsburgh section of Brooklyn.
“Actually, I think we might have kept at least one of the steam engines if we could replace parts, but no iron works make them anymore,” he said. “That factor, plus the economies of operation offered by the diesel, decided us in burying the steam engine.”
It was the same decision that influenced the major railroads to abandon the old Iron Horse beginning in 1925, when the diesel first edged its way onto the nation’s railroad tracks.
In the mid-20s there were about 65,000 steam locomotives, some with as many as 12 wheels, and many of them making, if not beating, the diesel’s speed. As long ago as 1893, old 999 ran at a top speed of 112.5 miles an hour up near Buffalo. A diesel’s maximum today is about 100 miles an hour.
The last steam engine operated by the New York Central was No. 1977. She finished her run in May, 1957, and since then her counterparts have been nostalgic conversation pieces.
Except for a few steam locomotives working in marble quarries in Vermont and on narrow-gauge tracks in outdoor railroad museums and along spurs in some southern states, the Iron Horse is dead in the eastern half of the country, and her plaintive whoooo, hoooo, whoooo has been replaced by the shrilly efficient blast of the staid diesel.
Kenneth Gear adds:
Hi David, I enjoyed the BEDT story in the latest Trolley Dodger and thought I’d share a little info about, and an few photos of 0-6-0T # 16.
Back in the early 1990’s I paid a few visits to the ex-PRR Greenville car float in Jersey City, NJ to photograph the New York Cross Harbor RR’s Alco switchers in action. The NYCH had taken over the operations of the BEDT and a few other remaining waterfront rail lines in New York, as well as the New Jersey side car float.
In 1992 and 1993 the New York Cross Harbor held “Railfan Days”. The railroad welcomed railfans onto the property for tours of the yard and photo ops of the car floats being loaded/unloaded.
I knew the NYCH used ex-BEDT Alco switcher locomotives but I was very surprised to find that 0-6-0T # 16 was still here on the property at Bush Terminal in Brooklyn. The railroad pulled the steamer out of the engine house and spotted it next to Alco S-1 switchers 22 & 25 for both day and night photos! I’ve attached a few photos of #16 that I took that day.
The way #16 was painted in the early 1990s is different than how it looked when it last ran in 1963. That would suggest it was repainted at some later date, but by who?
Did the #16 get abandoned later on, and was it vandalized (stripped for brass) before it was saved? Or was it sent to a museum while still in good shape?
As I remember it, BEDT sold the # 16 shortly after it was replaced with diesels in 1963 but it never left Brooklyn.
Who repainted it and why I’m not sure but there was some talk of restoration on a tourist Railroad. The New York Cross Harbor RR ceased operations very quickly and management was under suspicion of some legal wrong doing and the whole railroad was abandoned and eventually taken over by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. 16 was still on the property at this time and the Port Authority disposed of the locomotive and it ended up on Long Island.
BEDT documents dated June 24, 1963 request $7,000 asking price of #16.
Non-BEDT documents (5/90 issue of Semaphore) show #16 was sold to a G. Foster, then resold, then (erroneously) state it was scrapped!
In actuality, #16 had been sold to George Foster, for use in conjunction with BEDT #12 & Ron Ziel’s Sag Harbor & Scuttle Hole operation; but was never removed from the Kent Ave. property and was abandoned in place when BEDT ceased operations in 1983.
It remained there until late 1993, at which time #16 was brought to NY Cross Harbor RR for cosmetic restoration.
From the time of move from Kent Avenue and during restoration in NY Cross Harbor shops, Robert Diamond (of BHRA) claims ownership. Mr. Diamond was kind enough to send a copy of receipt from owner of Kent Avenue property authorizing #16 to be moved by Mr. Diamond and transfers ownership of #16 to Mr. Diamond. According to Mr. Diamond, sometime after restoration and “unveiling” in 1993, NYCH donated #16 without his consent.
According to sources at the Trolley Museum of New York in Kingston, they were supposed to acquire it. Unfortunately, the TMNY could not fund the rigging and move from Brooklyn to Kingston, so #16 was offered by NYCH to Friends of Locomotive 35 in Oyster Bay, which accepted it. However, it was allegedly brought to the RR Museum of Long Island in Riverhead in error, but has remained at that location as their project.
New information states #16 was NOT brought to Riverhead in error, but was sent there intentionally with the knowledge of Friends of Loco #35, as a RR Museum of LI banner was hung on 16 during its move.
A Redder Red Arrow
Here is another example of photo restoration. Fittingly, this is from the Red Arrow Lines (Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company) in 1960 at an unidentified location. Even the Red Arrow wasn’t this red!
The photo on Red Arrow is at Drexel Hill jct the car is headed towards 69th st coming from Sharon Hill. The tracks in the foreground are the pocket tracks at the jct where they short turn cars behind the photographer are the tracks to Media. All still remains today although the 80 class car is long gone.
On July 24, a lightning bolt hit the long ramp leading to the Chicago Transit Authority’s Medical Center station on the Blue Line, completely destroying a long section of the original late 1950s canopy. It made for some very compelling video:
Fortunately, no one was hurt. CTA service was fully restored by the next morning, after all the debris was removed from the tracks. This station was originally called Damen-Ogden-Paulina, and it’s the Paulina entrance that remains closed.
Basically, if you see the video somebody captured from a car on the expressway, the lightning went up the ramp over about 20 seconds, totally destroying, mostly melting, all the aluminum parts of the walkway, walls, railings, with part of the roof falling onto the tracks and causing a massive arc. I have never seen anything even similar to this!
These three pictures have been added to our previous post Night Beat (June 21, 2016):
The North Shore Line terminal in Milwaukee in January 1963.
A North Shore Line train stops at Edison Court in January 1963.
A Toronto subway train in August 1963.
This picture has been added to our post Love For Selle (June 8, 2016):
CTA 3025 is running inbound on Elston on June 30, 1949. (Bob Selle Photo) Neil Arsenty adds, “Although this is the Elston Avenue line, this is actually taken at Milwaukee and Kinzie going southeast. The building behind the streetcar still stands at the Northwest corner.”
Milwaukee and Kinzie today.
NOW AVAILABLE, DIGITALLY REMASTERED ON COMPACT DISC:
First published in 1959, and long out of print, Steam Echoes captures the unforgettable sound drama of steam engines in action. Like Whistles West, it features the recordings of E. P. Ripley, made in the waning days of steam during the 1950s.
The scenes were selected for listening pleasure as well as to create an historical document. They represent the everyday workings of our old steam friends, selected for the most interest, or the most beauty. The series are purposely kept short to preserve their brilliance. They show the steam engine in all four of the ways it may be heard at work– riding in it, on the train behind it, traveling along beside it, and standi