Twilight Time

This slide, taken in March 1959, is marked as showing the first train (a diesel) that went east of the DesPlaines River via the bridge that had been relocated during expressway construction. As we now know, CA&E passenger service did not resume, and eventually this new track connection was cut back to east of the river, and became the tail track for the CTA yard. The bridge remained in place for many years, but was eventually removed. This picture appears to have been taken west of the river, by the Commonwealth Edison facilities. The ballast appears fresh. (Zaiman Gaibel Photo)

This slide, taken in March 1959, is marked as showing the first train (a diesel) that went east of the DesPlaines River via the bridge that had been relocated during expressway construction. As we now know, CA&E passenger service did not resume, and eventually this new track connection was cut back to east of the river, and became the tail track for the CTA yard. The bridge remained in place for many years, but was eventually removed. This picture appears to have been taken west of the river, by the Commonwealth Edison facilities. The ballast appears fresh. (Zalman Gaibel Photo)

Most of the pictures in today’s post come from the collection I inherited from my late friend Jeffrey L. Wien and feature the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban in its twilight days.

Some 30 of these images show some late electric freight moves in March 1959, nearly two years after the abandonment of passenger service, and just a few months before the CA&E gave up the ghost. I don’t recall ever seeing any photos of such late operations on the CA&E, much less this many of them.

Once passenger service ended, the bulk of CA&E employees were let go, but some were retained on the basis of seniority. This means only the oldest of the “old timers” remained, and some of them were well past what is now considered retirement age.

There are also views of the former passenger stations at 17th Avenue in Maywood, Bellwood, and Wheaton.

There is one other remarkable photo, showing what is said to be the first train on the newly rebuilt CA&E tracks leading to the DesPlaines Avenue CTA Terminal in March 1959. While this is a diesel train, it does show that at least one train ran on the new tracks, which were relocated during expressway construction.

Apparently, part of the deal that CA&E made when they sold their right of way crossing the DesPlaines River, was that their tracks would be “made whole” so that it could be possible to restore running passenger service. Although the tracks were restored, service never resumed. The assumption has been that “no trains ever ran on them,” but the photo shown above indicates otherwise.

These historic photos, plus some others taken in August and September 1959 (after the final abandonment) at Wheaton were taken by the late Zalman Gaibel (1943-1995). I wasn’t able to find much information about him online, other than that he graduated from MIT in 1963. There is a slide show tribute that you can see here.

We have rounded these CA&E photos with a few others, taken in the latter days of interurban service over the “L”, most by William C. Hoffman, and one by Truman Hefner.

We are also featuring many wonderful photos, both black and white and color, taken by John V. Engleman in the late 1950s and early 1960s, mostly in Boston, but some in Chicago.

We hope that you will enjoy them, and we than Mr. Engleman for his generosity in sharing them with our readers.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 800 members.

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

Work on our North Shore Line book is ongoing. Donations are needed in order to bring this to a successful conclusion. You will find donation links at the top and bottom of each post. We thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

CA&E Freight Moves in March 1959

All the photos in this section were taken by Zalman Gaibel.

17th Avenue.

17th Avenue.

Eastbound at Mannheim.

Eastbound at Mannheim.

Bellwood Station.

Bellwood Station.

Bellwood.

Bellwood.

Bellwood/Mannheim, looking west.

Bellwood/Mannheim, looking west.

Bellwood Interchange.

Bellwood Interchange.

Bellwood/Mannheim.

Bellwood/Mannheim.

Bellwood/Mannheim.

Bellwood/Mannheim.

Bellwood/Mannheim.

Bellwood/Mannheim.

Westbound at Bellwood/Mannheim.

Westbound at Bellwood/Mannheim.

Southbound into Cook County.

Southbound into Cook County.

Southbound into Cook County.

Southbound into Cook County.

Mannheim Interchange.

Mannheim Interchange.

Mannheim Interchange.

Mannheim Interchange.

Bellwood/Mannheim.

Bellwood/Mannheim.

Bellwood Station.

Bellwood Station.

Mannheim-Cook County.

Mannheim-Cook County.

Bellwood/Mannheim.

Bellwood/Mannheim.

The CA&E Wheaton Yards in August and September 1959

All the photos in this section were taken by Zalman Gaibel.

The lineup at Wheaton.

The lineup at Wheaton.

Cars 407, 411, and 417. Don's Rail Photos: "Pullman Cars 400-419. These 20 cars were the first steel cars on the Roaring Elgin and were built by Pullman in 1923."

Cars 407, 411, and 417. Don’s Rail Photos: “Pullman Cars 400-419. These 20 cars were the first steel cars on the Roaring Elgin and were built by Pullman in 1923.”

Car 301. Don's Rail Photos: "301 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in December 1940."

Car 301. Don’s Rail Photos: “301 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in December 1940.”

Car 307. Don's Rail Photos: "307 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906, It was modernized in July 1939."

Car 307. Don’s Rail Photos: “307 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906, It was modernized in July 1939.”

Car 20. Don's Rail Photos: "20 was built by Niles Car in 1902. It was preserved by Railway Electric Leasing & Investing Corp in 1962. It was then transferred to Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It is the oldest operating interurban in the United States."

Car 20. Don’s Rail Photos: “20 was built by Niles Car in 1902. It was preserved by Railway Electric Leasing & Investing Corp in 1962. It was then transferred to Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It is the oldest operating interurban in the United States.”

Cars 456, 455, 452, and 460. Don's Rail Photos: "St. Louis Cars 451-460. These 10 cars were the last cars and were built by St. Louis Car in October 1945. They had been ordered in 1941 but were held up by World War II. They had to be able to operate with older equipment, and this precluded any radical design. They were highly improved over earlier cars." Of the ten cars, only four were saved, all originally purchased by Trolleyville USA (cars 451, 453, 458, and 460). Of these, 458 is at the Fox River Trolley Museum, and the rest are at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Cars 456, 455, 452, and 460. Don’s Rail Photos: “St. Louis Cars 451-460. These 10 cars were the last cars and were built by St. Louis Car in October 1945. They had been ordered in 1941 but were held up by World War II. They had to be able to operate with older equipment, and this precluded any radical design. They were highly improved over earlier cars.” Of the ten cars, only four were saved, all originally purchased by Trolleyville USA (cars 451, 453, 458, and 460). Of these, 458 is at the Fox River Trolley Museum, and the rest are at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Car 603. Don's Rail Photos: "In 1937, the CA&E needed additional equipment. Much was available, but most of the cars suffered from extended lack of maintenance. Finally, 5 coaches were found on the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis which were just the ticket. 35 thru 39, built by Cincinnati Car in 1913, were purchased and remodeled for service as 600 thru 604. The ends were narrowed for service on the El. They had been motors, but came out as control trailers. Other modifications included drawbars, control, etc. A new paint scheme was devised. Blue and grey with red trim and tan roof was adopted from several selections. They entered service between July and October in 1937. 603 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1913 as WB&A 38. It was sold as CA&E 603 in September 1937."

Car 603. Don’s Rail Photos: “In 1937, the CA&E needed additional equipment. Much was available, but most of the cars suffered from extended lack of maintenance. Finally, 5 coaches were found on the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis which were just the ticket. 35 thru 39, built by Cincinnati Car in 1913, were purchased and remodeled for service as 600 thru 604. The ends were narrowed for service on the El. They had been motors, but came out as control trailers. Other modifications included drawbars, control, etc. A new paint scheme was devised. Blue and grey with red trim and tan roof was adopted from several selections. They entered service between July and October in 1937. 603 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1913 as WB&A 38. It was sold as CA&E 603 in September 1937.”

Car 20.

Cars 603, 604, 410, and 424. Don's Rail Photos: "424 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1927, #2055."

Cars 603, 604, 410, and 424. Don’s Rail Photos: “424 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1927, #2055.”

Wheaton station. It was demolished in May 1966, and we ran some pictures showing that in a previous post.

Wheaton station. It was demolished in May 1966, and we ran some pictures showing that in a previous post.

Car 600.

Line car 11. Don's Rail Photos: "11 was built by Brill in 1910, #16483. It was rebuilt to a line car in 1947 and replaced 45. It was acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Investment Co in 1962 and became Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It was lettered as Fox River & Eastern."

Line car 11. Don’s Rail Photos: “11 was built by Brill in 1910, #16483. It was rebuilt to a line car in 1947 and replaced 45. It was acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Investment Co in 1962 and became Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It was lettered as Fox River & Eastern.”

Caboose 1004, the same one seen in action in a different photo.

Caboose 1004, the same one seen in action in a different photo.

Cars 402 and 600.

Tool car 7, plus cars 458, 459, 306, 318, and 317, among others. Don's Rail Photos: "7 was built by Jewett Car in 1906. In 1941 it was rebuilt as a tool car."

Tool car 7, plus cars 458, 459, 306, 318, and 317, among others. Don’s Rail Photos: “7 was built by Jewett Car in 1906. In 1941 it was rebuilt as a tool car.”

Cars 451, 458, 459, 306, 318, and 317. Don's Rail Photos: "306 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in July 1941. 317 was built by Jewett Car Co in 1913. It was sold to RELIC in 1962 and transferred as FRT in 1984. 318 was built by Jewett Car Co in 1914. It had steel sheathing and was modernized in 1944. It was sold to Wisconsin Electric Raiway Historical Society in 1962. It was wrecked in transit and the parts were sold to IRM to restore 321."

Cars 451, 458, 459, 306, 318, and 317. Don’s Rail Photos: “306 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in July 1941. 317 was built by Jewett Car Co in 1913. It was sold to RELIC in 1962 and transferred as FRT in 1984. 318 was built by Jewett Car Co in 1914. It had steel sheathing and was modernized in 1944. It was sold to Wisconsin Electric Raiway Historical Society in 1962. It was wrecked in transit and the parts were sold to IRM to restore 321.”

Car 307.

Car 417.

Car 417.

Car 318.

Car 318.

Cars 603 and 604.

Cars 603 and 604.

The Wheaton Yards.

The Wheaton Yards.

Car 307.

Car 307.

Miscellaneous CA&E Photos

The view looking west from the Western Avenue "L" platform on the Garfield Park line on June 9, 1953. An eastbound "L" train approaches, while passing a westbound CA&E train. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking west from the Western Avenue “L” platform on the Garfield Park line on June 9, 1953. An eastbound “L” train approaches, while passing a westbound CA&E train. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking west from Marshfield Avenue on August 23, 1953 shows a westbound three-car CA&E train. It appears that the ground at left is being prepared for the construction of a new "L" span, running north and south at this point. Once the Garfield Park structure was removed, after September 27, 1953, this new span allowed Douglas Park trains to go to the Loop via the Lake Street "L" about one mile north of here. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking west from Marshfield Avenue on August 23, 1953 shows a westbound three-car CA&E train. It appears that the ground at left is being prepared for the construction of a new “L” span, running north and south at this point. Once the Garfield Park structure was removed, after September 27, 1953, this new span allowed Douglas Park trains to go to the Loop via the Lake Street “L” about one mile north of here. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

CA&E 319 is at the back end of a westbound five-car train at Marshfield Avenue on November 30, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

CA&E 319 is at the back end of a westbound five-car train at Marshfield Avenue on November 30, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

CA&E 426 is at the back end of a westbound four-car train just west of Western Avenue on August 9, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

CA&E 426 is at the back end of a westbound four-car train just west of Western Avenue on August 9, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

CA&E 48 heads up an eastbound five-car train near Western Avenue on August 9, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

CA&E 48 heads up an eastbound five-car train near Western Avenue on August 9, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

We have run a different version of this same image a couple times before, but this was scanned from a duplicate slide made in the 1950s, and has less cropping than the later versions. CA&E 460 heads up a westbound train at Sacramento Avenue in January 1952. The other cars are 422 and 428. (Truman Hefner Photo)

We have run a different version of this same image a couple times before, but this was scanned from a duplicate slide made in the 1950s, and has less cropping than the later versions. CA&E 460 heads up a westbound train at Sacramento Avenue in January 1952. The other cars are 422 and 428. (Truman Hefner Photo)

It's hard to make out the number. Is this car 26, or 28? Don's Rail Photos: "28 was built by Niles Car in 1902. It was modernized at an unknown date and retired in 1959." Not sure who took this photo, but it was not part of the Zalman Gaibel batch.

It’s hard to make out the number. Is this car 26, or 28? Don’s Rail Photos: “28 was built by Niles Car in 1902. It was modernized at an unknown date and retired in 1959.” Not sure who took this photo, but it was not part of the Zalman Gaibel batch.

Wells Street Terminal Photo

While we are on the subject of the CA&E, I finally got a better quality version of this excellent photo thanks to Rex Butler. It which appeared in the August 1927 issue of the North Shore Bulletin. It shows the newly renovated Wells Street Terminal. While North Shore trains were only occasional visitors there, Insull owned the CA&E, North Shore Line, and the Chicago Rapid Transit Company, so one hand washes the other. The terminal remained in use until the CA&E stopped using it in September 1953.

Photos by John V. Engleman

Car 3283 and PCC 3187. Don's Rail Photos: "3179 thru 3196 were built by Pullman-Standard in 1945, #W6710B."

Car 3283 and PCC 3187. Don’s Rail Photos: “3179 thru 3196 were built by Pullman-Standard in 1945, #W6710B.”

This is on the Blue Line.

This is on the Blue Line.

PCC 3056. Don's Rail Photos: "3055 thru 3062 were built by Pullman-Standard in 1944, #W6697."

PCC 3056. Don’s Rail Photos: “3055 thru 3062 were built by Pullman-Standard in 1944, #W6697.”

The end of the Ashmont-Mattapan line.

The end of the Ashmont-Mattapan line.

PCC 3304. This is a "picture window" PCC, built in 1951 by Pullman-Standard. Starting in 1959, these cars were assigned to the new Riverside branch.

PCC 3304. This is a “picture window” PCC, built in 1951 by Pullman-Standard. Starting in 1959, these cars were assigned to the new Riverside branch.

PCC 3208, among others, at the end of the Ashmont-Mattapan line.

PCC 3208, among others, at the end of the Ashmont-Mattapan line.

PCC 3210.

PCC 3210.

PCC 3018. This was part of the first batch of PCCs ordered for Boston in 1940. Don's Rail Photos: "3018 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1940, #W6629. It was scrapped in 1974."

PCC 3018. This was part of the first batch of PCCs ordered for Boston in 1940. Don’s Rail Photos: “3018 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1940, #W6629. It was scrapped in 1974.”

Service car 6321.

Service car 6321.

Snow plow 5164.

Snow plow 5164.

PCC 3197.

PCC 3197.

PCC 3004. Don's Rail Photos: "3004 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1940, #W6629. It was scrapped in 1991."

PCC 3004. Don’s Rail Photos: “3004 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1940, #W6629. It was scrapped in 1991.”

Test car 396.

Test car 396.

The interior of a PCC.

The interior of a PCC.

CTA trolley bus 9510,

CTA trolley bus 9510,

Unfortunately, this medium format negative was partially light struck. I made another version in black-and-white so this wouldn't be so noticeable.

Unfortunately, this medium format negative was partially light struck. I made another version in black-and-white so this wouldn’t be so noticeable.

PCC 3338, an ex-Dallas double-ended "Texas Ranger." 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." This is at the old surface station at North Station. This line has since been relocated into a subway. There was also an elevated platform at this station.

PCC 3338, an ex-Dallas double-ended “Texas Ranger.” 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.” This is at the old surface station at North Station. This line has since been relocated into a subway. There was also an elevated platform at this station.

PCC 3014.

PCC 3014.

PCC 3198.

PCC 3198.

PCC 285 is running heads a two-car train, headed for Cleveland Circle on what is now the MBTA Green Line "C" branch.

PCC 285 is running heads a two-car train, headed for Cleveland Circle on what is now the MBTA Green Line “C” branch.

Chicago in the early-to-mid 1960s. Note the Marina Towers are under construction.

Chicago in the early-to-mid 1960s. Note the Marina Towers are under construction.

Chicago in the early-to-mid 1960s. The Prudential Building was never Chicago's tallest, being slightly shorter than the Board of Trade building, but it did have a popular observation deck in the 1960s, before being eclipsed by the Hancock building and Sear Tower.

Chicago in the early-to-mid 1960s. The Prudential Building was never Chicago’s tallest, being slightly shorter than the Board of Trade building, but it did have a popular observation deck in the 1960s, before being eclipsed by the Hancock building and Sear Tower.

CTA trolley bus 9521.

CTA trolley bus 9521.

CTA trolley bus 9221. This is on North Avenue at Humboldt Park.

CTA trolley bus 9221. This is on North Avenue at Humboldt Park.

CTA 6205-6206, among the first "curved door" PCCs.

CTA 6205-6206, among the first “curved door” PCCs.

CTA trolley bus 9448 is running on Route 52 - Kedzie.

CTA trolley bus 9448 is running on Route 52 – Kedzie.

A Guide to the Railroad Record Club E-Book

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

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

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

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

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

Price: $19.99

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

Now Available on Compact Disc:

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

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

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

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

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

Total time – 72:57

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

Chicago’s Lost “L”s Online Presentation

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

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

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

Our Latest Book, Now Available:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

From the back cover:

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

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

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

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

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

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

NEW DVD:

A Tribute to the North Shore Line

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

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

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

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

Total time – 121:22

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

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.
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The North Shore Line In Milwaukee – Then and Now

1A NSL 748 sb. on 6th St. Viaduct at Canal St. 8-12-51 Don Ross.

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.

-Larry Sakar

1B The 6th St. Viaduct in 1989. NSL rails still there. C.N.Barney

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

4A NSL 750 & 251 at 5th & Chase in 1955. Don Ross

4B 5th & Chase on 9-22-17. C.N.Barney

4B 5th & Chase on 9-22-17. C.N.Barney

5A Electroliner sb. at Harrison St. Bob Genack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

-Larry

Recent Finds

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)

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."

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.

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.

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)

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)

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)

Chicago Trolleys

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.)

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.

-David Sadowski

gh1

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.

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Points East, West and South

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.

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.

We are especially glad to feature both the Chicago & West Towns Railways and Gary Railways. These photos have been generously shared by George Trapp, long a friend of this blog.

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.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

NOLA

A streamlined Kodak Bantam camera, using size 828 roll film, of a type that may have taken the New Orleans picture.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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 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 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 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 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 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)

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.

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 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 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)

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.

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)

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.

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)

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.

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, 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)

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."

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.

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)