Milwaukee Electric 948, as seen from the rear of car 900, on July 16, 1952. Darrick Vormann adds, “Great shot, looks like #10 turning off of 68th St. headed to West Allis.” Larry Sakar: “Photo aaa756 showing the Wells-West Allis westbound streetcar completing the turn from southbound S. 68th Street onto the continuation of the private r.o.w. was also part of Phase III (in Milwaukee Rapid Transit construction in the late 1920s). The 68th Street Rapid Transit station would have been to the left of the streetcar atop the r.o.w. Where the streetcar is seen is today part of the 68th St. off ramp from eastbound I-94, the East-West Freeway. Look slightly left in the background and you can see a bit of the large abutment that carried the two bridges of the Rapid Transit line over S. 68th St. To the left of it, streetcars came down or climbed up a ramp on the embankment to or from the p.r.o.w. This was a favorite place for pranksters. They would soap or oil the track climbing up to the top of the embankment and then hide nearby and get their kicks watching the streetcar try to climb on the soaped or oiled rails.”
As this is Halloween, we have lots of treats for you, and hopefully, not too many tricks. Our latest batch of classic traction pictures also features lots of trains in fall colors, both here in Chicago, and in Milwaukee.
Chicago & West Towns car 161. The slide says this is in Brookfield.
Chicago & West Towns 156. The slide says this is in Brookfield, but it looks like it could be on Woodside in Riverside.
The caption on this slide mount says, “Dad, David, Bev and Mom entering the El on November 23, 1962.” The location is the at 242-Van Cortlandt Park on the IRT Broadway Line in the Bronx. The station is still there.
Pittsburgh Railways 1693 on the Fineview line in September 1965.
A North Shore Line train at North Chicago Junction on January 20, 1963, the last full day of service before abandonment.
The Aurora and Elgin station in Wheaton on June 14, 1960, nearly three years after passenger service ended, and a year after the last freight train ran.
The CA&E station at Lakewood on June 14, 1960. The line had been abandoned, but was still largely intact, yet could not be saved.
One of the two former North Shore Line Electroliners, just after it had been delivered to the Red Arrow’s Philadelphia & Western line at the 69th Street terminal. The slide was processed in January 1964, but by then, the two trainsets had been repainted and reconfigured into Liberty Liners and were put into service on the 13-mile line to Norristown. So this was taken a few months earlier. Notice the North Shore Line emblem on the front of the train has been removed.
The interior of Milwaukee streetcar 918 on September 5, 1954. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
Milwaukee County Stadium on October 6, 1957, during Game 4 of the World Series between the Milwaukee Braves and New York Yankees. The Braves came from behind to win the game 7-5 in the bottom of the 10th inning, via what we now call a “walk off” home run by Eddie Mathews. Warren Spahn was the winning pitcher, and the Braves went on to win the series, four games to three. The same two teams faced off in the 1958 series, which was won by the Yankees in seven games. Attendance at this game was 45,804 and the park was still served by streetcars in 1957 (but not the following year). (William C. Hoffman Photo)
According to the slide mount, this shows an expansion joint in the streetcar tracks near County Stadium in Milwaukee, where several streetcars are parked during the fourth game of the World Series between the Milwaukee Braves and the New York Yankees on October 6, 1957. (William C. Hoffman Photo) Larry Sakar adds: “Great picture aaa732 of streetcars on the stadium spur in Calvary Cemetery cut. The cut was started in 1926 as part of Phase III of the Rapid Transit Line construction project officially known as the “Fairview Ave. Grade Separation Project.” This phase was completed in late 1928, and construction on Phase IV The City of Milwaukee Rapid Transit Line between 8th & Hibernia Streets and 40th Street was started. It would take until 9-22-30 for it to be completed. As you know, Phase V, the subway to the Public Service Building had some preliminary work done but was never completed. Looking at the photo of the spur, I feel that the spur was a bit more to the south then when the Rapid Transit was running. The eastbound Rapid Transit track would have been next to the fence to the left but there doesn’t look like there was enough room for a fourth track in this photo. The cut still exists but it is so overgrown with weeds and brush that it is barely recognizable. I have a photo taken by Mr. Dan Lee of the Milwaukee Public library Humanities Dept. in 2016 which I’ll send you and you’ll see what I mean about it being overgrown.”
A Milwaukee trolley bus is on National Avenue on May 30, 1963. We are looking north on 6th Street, where North Shore Line interurban trains had run until January 21, 1963. The last Milwaukee trolley bus operated in 1965. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
Fans pushing bus 255 at the Cold Springs Shops at 35th and McKinley on November 4, 1962. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
Fans pushing bus 255 at the Cold Springs Shops at 35th and McKinley on November 4, 1962. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
“Streetliner” bus 886 at the National Railway Museum in Green Bay, WI on September 22, 1963. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
The art glass window of the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad at Fowler and Plankinton in Milwaukee on May 30, 1963. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
On December 4, 1949, Milwaukee Electric car 1121 was operated on the North Shore Line for a fantrip. Here it is at the Oklahoma stop on an embankment in Milwaukee, WI. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
Speedrail car 66 at West Junction on June 14, 1951, not long before the entire interurban line was abandoned.
Speedrail car 66 in Milwaukee on June 14, 1951. Larry Sakar adds, “car 66 is westbound about to cross the 8th Street bridge. Once across it will go down the ramp to the start of the private right of way.”
Speedrail car 66 at the Hales Corners loop on June 14, 1951. Larry Sakar: “It’s hard to distinguish in this photo of car 66 rounding Hales Corners Hillcrest loop but in the right side background was the Hales Corners Speedway where they held car races well into the 70’s and ’80’s. Today a Menards occupies the site of the HC loop.”
Milwaukee Electric cars 979 and 914 on private right-of-way on the west side of Milwaukee on May 16, 1953. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
Wisconsin Electric Power Company loco L-9 at the Lakeside power plant on June 12, 1955. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
Milwaukee Rapid Transit and Speedrail articulated car 50 on Everett Street at the Milwaukee terminal on June 17, 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
Speedrail heavyweight cars 1193 and 1192 at the Milwaukee terminal on July 4, 1950. 1192 was wrecked less than two months later. The heavyweight cars were only used during rush hours. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
The old interurban and rapid transit terminal at 2nd and Michigan Streets in Milwaukee on August 27, 1961. (William C. Hoffman Photo) Larry Sakar: “Great shot of the Public Service Building a decade after the Rapid Transit had been abandoned. I think you should say this is the southeast corner of N. 3rd & W. Michigan Streets. The caption gives the impression that it’s 2nd Street. Greyhound would occupy the building for four more years before moving to its new terminal on the northeast corner of N. 7th & W. Michigan Streets in early February 1965. I don’t know what’s in there now. Greyhound moved to the new Intermodal station on the west end of the Amtrak station at 5th & St. Paul around 2006. Three years later Badger Coach which was directly across N. 7th Street. moved there in 2009. It is now the sole bus terminal in Milwaukee.”
Double-pole streetcar 801 is at the Fond Du Lac station in Milwaukee on May 4, 1958. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
On August 2, 1964, Milwaukee streetcar 978 is on static display at the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom, WI. After moving around to several places after its 1958 retirement, car 978 is now at the East Troy Electric Railroad. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
The view west along the old Milwaukee Electric right-of-way over the North Shore Line in south Milwaukee on September 9, 1962. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
Speedrail snow plow U-5 is at the Milwaukee terminal on June 17. 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
Old heavyweight Milwaukee Electric steel car 1115, later operated under Speedrail, is shown at the Everett Street terminal in Milwaukee on June 17, 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
On July 4, 1950, several Speedrail cars are shown at the Milwaukee terminal. Car 1192, at right, was involved in a head-on collision on September 2, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
Milwaukee Electric (aka Speedrail) car 1115 is at the Waukesha loop on July 16, 1950. Larry Sakar: “Car 1115 seen on the Waukesha loop on 7-16-50 was part two of a four-part fan trip. I do not know who sponsored it. The morning trip to Waukesha used lightweight duplex 31-32 to Waukesha. At Waukesha loop the fans boarded ex TM now Speedrail car 1115 for the return trip to Milwaukee. There are a number of pictures of it at West Junction, including that one I think I shared with you long ago where Speedrail VP of operations Ed Tennyson appears to be chewing out the conductor. The afternoon trip to Hales Corners Hillcrest loop used curved side car 65 to Hales Corners and ex AE&FR, ex SHRT 301 for the return to Milwaukee. While backing across the Honey Creek Parkway bridge for a photo run-by, the trolley pole came off the wire and struck the catenary arm, bending it like a pretzel. Those cars did not carry a spare pole. In fact, I’m not aware if TM or any of its successors ever did. They moved the front pole around and it got them back to the Public Service Building.”
On June 14, 1951, Speedrail car 66 is at the Waukesha loop. Refurbishing this curved-sided car, originally built by the Cincinnati Car Company and purchased used from Lehigh Valley Transit, was a last-ditch effort to save the line. Unfortunately, this car only ran in Milwaukee for a few weeks before the line quit. Larry Sakar: “The caption says that car 66 operated for “just a few weeks” before the end of Speedrail on 6-30-51. The 66 made its debut on a fan trip on the Waukesha line on March 31, 1951. It operated in regular service over both the Waukesha and Hales Corners lines through the very last day. I have a color print from a slide of it stopping at Waukesha East Limits on 6-30-51. It is credited to the late George Krambles.”
Speedrail car 1192, which was heavily damaged in a horrific head-on collision, as it appeared in September 1951.
Speedrail car 62 leaves the Milwaukee terminal on June 14, 1951.
Milwaukee Electric 801 is on the Wells Street trestle on May 6, 1950.
Milwaukee Electric car 801, equipped with two trolley poles, is at the Fond Du Lac barns on September 5, 1954.
On May 22, 1955, Milwaukee Electric loco L10 and some hopper cars are on the #10 route. Larry Sakar: “This is not the Route 10 line. No freight service ever crossed the Wells Street viaduct which I’m guessing is what whoever wrote the caption thought this was. It is actually the Lakeside Belt Line crossing South 60th Street, a short distance north of where I live. Today, you’d never know it was there!”
On May 16, 1953, Milwaukee Electric 921 is on the long trestle on the line to Wauwatosa.
Milwaukee Electric 994 is on the Howell line in Milwaukee on August 12, 1955.
Milwaukee streetcar 962 is on the West Allis route on September 14, 1953.
Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 407 at Green Valley in Lombard at Brewster Avenue.
CA&E car 411 heads up a train in Wheaton.
CTA 2891 is heading west, crossing First Avenue in suburban Maywood in November 1951. The Refiner’s Pride gas station at rear was run by “Montana Charlie” Reid. He operated a chain of such stations in the western suburbs here. He also owned Montana Charlie’s Chuck Wagon, a restaurant in Villa Park. Although Charlie himself is long gone (he died in the early 1980s), his name is still used on a flea market in Bolingbrook, Montana Charlie’s Little America. (Truman Hefner Photo)
The Refiner’s Pride gas station on first Avenue in Maywood was part of a chain that included this location in Forest Park, and included a small convenience store. The Forest Park location is still in business as Refiners Citgo. (Forest Park Review Photo)
From the Chicago Tribune, September 19, 2004: “As for the real Montana Charlie, he is described as an exciting character with a colorful, almost improbable background. Montana Charlie Reid “was born and raised on the North Side of Chicago but while in his early teens, during the previous turn of the century [19th to the 20th], he yearned to be a cowboy,” Donahue says. “So he got on his horse and rode it all the way to Montana, where he got a job on a ranch. “He learned trick riding and became involved with traveling carnivals and circus acts. As he went through life, he tried his hand at various other things — including chauffeuring an oil tycoon. When his employer died, he left his estate to Montana Charlie.”
CTA 2920 at the ground level Harrison Street station on the Westchester route in May 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)
CTA 2889 heads south into an open cut near the Roosevelt Road station in March 1951, while passing several cars in storage nearby. (Truman Hefner Photo)
CTA 2863 is at the Roosevelt Road station on the Westchester line in April 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)
CTA 2721 is eastbound, west of the DesPlaines Avenue station in April 1951. The gas holder at right was a longtime Forest Park landmark. (Truman Hefner Photo)
CTA 2904 approaches the Roosevelt Road station in January 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)
CTA 2908 is eastbound, having crossed First Avenue in Maywood. The old Refiner’s Pride gas station is in the background. The date given here (June 1952) must be wrong, as the Westchester branch quit in December 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)
CTA 2823 is between First Avenue and DesPlaines Avenue, having just crossed over the DesPlaines River. The date given (October 1952) must be wrong, as the Westchester branch quit in December 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)
CTA 2922 crossing railroad tracks near DesPlaines Avenue. The date given is January 1952. (Truman Hefner Photo)
CTA 2859 and one additional car are southbound, having just stopped at the Roosevelt Road station on the Westchester route. The date given (March 1952) must be incorrect, as service on the Westchester “L” ended the previous December. Notice the two tracks went down to one here, for the rest of the line, which ended at Mannheim Road and 22nd Street. (Truman Hefner Photo)
In April 1951, CTA 2731 heads south, about to cross Madison Street just west of Bellwood Avenue in suburban Bellwood. A black-and-white version of this picture appears in my book Chicago’s Lost “L”s. Just north of here, the Westchester branch merged with the Chicago Aurora & Elgin main line. As far as I know, the house at right is still there. (Truman Hefner Photo)
CTA 2820 is on the CA&E main line in Bellwood in February 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)
CTA 2834 is westbound, just west of DesPlaines Avenue, in April 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)
CTA 2899 is at the Roosevelt Road station in February 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)
CTA 2806 and another car are in an open cut near the Roosevelt Road station in February 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)
CTA 2814 crosses Harrison Street in April 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)
This slide was definitely mislabeled. It was actually taken on the CA&E main line, just west of 25th Avenue. I believe the train is westbound. (Truman Hefner Photo)
CTA 2817 is just east of 25th Avenue, where the Chicago Great Western had a freight yard, on the CA&E main line. The train is eastbound. (Truman Hefner Photo)
Did Not Win
We have to compete with other people to purchase slides, prints, and negatives. As funds are always limited, we do not always win these auctions. Here are some photos that we did not win, but are still worth another look.
Here is a nice view of the Douglas Park yard at 54th Avenue in 1966, showing the old right-of-way that extended west of here until the line was cut back in 1952. The occasion was a fantrip.
Here is an excellent early photo of the Met “L” station at Gunderson, courtesy of LeRoy Blommaert. Gunderson is a side street running north-south in Oak Park, located between East Avenue and Ridgeland. When the “L” came through here, it was a new development, and hence, got its own station. The East Avenue entrance to the Blue Line station at Oak Park Avenue is its nearest contemporary replacement.
This real photo postcard recently sold for $60.99 on eBay. I did not win the auction. It shows a Chicago Union Traction streetcar signed for Evanston. Not sure if this was before or after service terminated at the city limits, so it could actually have terminated in Evanston itself.
Here is a mystery photo for you. Where was this picture of North Shore Line car 420 taken? Zach E.: “The mystery photo of CNS&M 420 was taken at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.”
There have been only a few times when “L” trains fell off the structure… this derailment, which happened on December 7, 1966, is one of them, at the curve near 40th and Indiana. David Harrison: “Yes… there were two things important about this incident… the last cars of an 8-car SB derailed. The two cars stayed on the structure for three blocks, after being derailed…. before they finally left the structure. That shows how ‘L’ cars are rather safe thanks to their weigh and low center of gravity, plus guard rails and timber guards. CTA rules at that time did not require to motorman to check his train after an emergency stop. The motorman testified he didn’t feel his train’s performance was different. Perhaps two blocks of running was at a low speed because of the curve at Wabash/40th. CTA rules were changed after this incident.” Caron Stewart adds, “Two people died in this accident. The train was going southbound during the morning rush. If it was going north towards downtown during this time the injuries most likely would have been higher.”
Another slide I did not win. This was one of those fantrips held on the CA&E after passenger service was abandoned. Unfortunately the photographer used “grade Z” film (probably Anscochrome). Chicago Aurora and Elgin Electric Interurban Coach #453 Original Color Slide Photographer Credit: Unknown Maywood, Illinois 26 October 1958
Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.
The Trolley Dodger On the Air
I recently appeared on the Dave Plier Show on WGN radio, 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.
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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)
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On August 1, 1951, CTA surface system fares were increased to 17 cents. Here, on two-man PCC 4188, Miss Elma Parrssinen dutifully pays her fare to conductor James Long. According to information provided by Andre Kristopans, which we ran in a previous post, car 4188 had a retirement date of June 9, 1953, making it one of the first postwar cars scrapped as part of the so-called “PCC Conversion Program,” whereby some parts from these cars were recycled into new 6000-series “L” cars.
Here are lots of “new” old photos that we have recently unearthed for your viewing pleasure. As always, if you have interesting tidbits of information to add, including locations, do not hesitate to drop us a line, either by leaving a Comment on this post, or by writing us directly at:
This photo of CTA streetcar 6149 was taken from an original red-border Kodachrome, which identifies the location as the “Campbell Avenue barn yard.” However, to me it looks like 69th and Ashland. The slide mount is of a type used by Kodak between 1950 and 1955. I would say this is closer in date the the former.
Campbell is 2500 West, which puts it a block west of Western (2400 West). Suppose the original location statement was a mile off. Paulina is 1700 West, a block west of Ashland (1600 West), and at 69th St., Paulina was just west of the carbarn. So I agree with you that this is probably the 69th and Ashland carbarn.
As confirmation, the 67th-69th-71st St. line (route 67) went right past the carbarn, and the destination sign aboard the route 67 car says 71st and California, the western terminus, where the route 67 car will go after leaving the barn.
However, I cannot explain the presence of route 4 Cottage Grove cars at the 69th and Ashland carbarn. The readable destination sign on car 6149 says Cottage Grove and 79th, which is a lot closer to the big carbarn at 77th and Vincennes than it is to 69th and Ashland.
I consulted my Lind book to find out when the 79th Street line and the 67th-69th-71st Street line were converted to buses. Lind says 79th was converted in September 1951 and 67th-69th-71st was converted in May 1953.
So I think this photo was taken after September 1951 and before May 1953. Somehow Cottage Grove cars were able to get to the 69th and Ashland carbarn, even though the trackage diagrams in the Lind book show no switches at 67th and Cottage Grove. Maybe the CTA built switches at 67th and Cottage Grove after September 1951 just for this purpose.
The 69th and Ashland carbarn also housed Western Ave. cars. But that carbarn must have closed soon after May 1953, because after that date, PCC cars on Western used 69th St. trackage to go east to Wentworth, south to Vincennes, and southwest to the 77th and Vincennes carbarn. That lasted until Western was converted to buses in 1956.
Thanks… I will have to look up the closing date for the 69th station (car house).
M. E. replied:
As I recall, the 69th and Ashland carbarn served these lines in the 1950s: 9 Ashland 49 Western 63 63rd 67 67th-69th-71stLind says both lines 63 and 67 converted to buses in May 1953. But Ashland did not convert until February 1954. And as I said earlier, Western converted in 1956.Therefore, the 69th and Ashland carbarn closed in February 1954, after which Western cars lived at 77th and Vincennes until 1956.
I looked it up on the Internet, and after streetcars left, 69th and Ashland continued to handle buses for many years:
1601 W. 69th St. (at Ashland Ave.)
Opened in 1908
Capacity in 1911: 191 cars inside/25 cars outside
Capacity in 1943: 191 cars inside/133 cars outside
First used for buses in 1953
Used for propane buses 1953-1973
Last used for streetcars 1954
First diesel buses 1973
Closed June 18, 1995
Replaced by 74th Street Garage
Building demolished in 1998
I moved out of Englewood in November 1954. I wasn’t aware that the 69th and Ashland carbarn became a bus barn and lasted another four decades. Live and learn.
The fact that the 69th and Ashland barn stayed open after May 1954 begs this question: Why didn’t the Western Ave. streetcars continue to use it, rather than travel all the way to 77th and Vincennes?
I think I have an answer. After May 1954 there were only a few remaining streetcar lines:
4 Cottage Grove 22 Clark-Wentworth 36 Broadway-State 49 Western
The CTA probably wanted to consolidate all streetcar operations in one or two barns. The 22 line ran right past the 77th and Vincennes barn; the 36 line was half a mile away; and the 49 line used 69th St. to reach the 77th and Vincennes barn. The 4 line continued to use the 38th and Cottage Grove barn until the 4 line was converted to bus in June 1955. (I found this on the same Web page you cited: http://chicagorailfan.com/rosctaxh.html .)
But herein lies a further question: If 38th and Cottage Grove was kept open until the Cottage Grove line was converted, then why were Cottage Grove cars in the photo of 69th and Ashland? I already mentioned that I saw no trackage that would allow Cottage Grove cars to reach 69th and Ashland.
I had the radical notion that perhaps the photo was not of 69th and Ashland, but instead of 38th and Cottage Grove. But then why would a 67 route streetcar be there? And the same lack of switches at 67th and Cottage Grove would preclude allowing 67th-69th-71st cars to travel to 38th and Cottage Grove.
All told, a mystery.
A mystery alright, and one that perhaps our readers might help solve, thanks.
CTA red cars 612 and 407 at 95th and Ashland in December 1951.
Ashland and 95th today, looking north.
In this September 14, 1960 view, we see a pair of CTA 4000s heading east on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L”, running alongside South Boulevard just west of Oak Park Avenue in suburban Oak Park. Just over two years later, this portion of the line would be relocated to the adjacent Chicago & North Western embankment, where it continues to run today as the Green Line. (Clark Frazier Photo)
Here is what South Boulevard looks like today, at approximately the same spot.
Here, we see CTA red Pullman 165 heading west on the private right-of-way portion of the 63rd Street route, a few blocks west of Central Avenue. The date is given as August 17, 1951, although some might argue for 1952 instead. These tracks ran in 63rd Place, which is now a completely built-up residential area a short distance south of 63rd Street.
63rd Place today. After streetcars quit, the CTA bus was re-routed onto 63rd Street in this area.
This picture of a 1926-vintage Illinois Central Electric suburban train was taken on September 9, 1959. I am not sure of the location, but it is marked as a Randolph Street Express, and the smokestack at right belongs to a laundry. Service continues today under the aegis of Metra Electric with modern bi-level cars. David Vartanoff writes: “The IC Electric pic is likely Kensington. Look at extreme magnification and one sees the r-o-w expand to 4 tracks.” Jack Ferry adds: “The IC Suburban Train is heading northbound at 115th St. Kensington.” This would be the same station near where the CTA route 4 – Cottage Grove streetcar ended. That was the site of many pictures over the years.(Clark Frazier Photo)
Here, we are at Cottage Grove and 115th, the south end of route 4. CTA red cars 3182 and 660 are visible. The date given is December 1952, but some might argue for an earlier date than that since there are no PCCs in sight here. The line ran parallel to the Illinois Central Electric suburban service embankment.
Cottage Grove and 115th today.
This wintry scene shows CTA red Pullman 636 on Cottage Grove near the 115th Street end of the line. The date is given as December 1952 but some might argue it should be earlier.
It’s June 10, 1951, and CTA red Pullman 230 is heading west on Chicago Avenue in this view taken from the Ravenswood “L”.
A contemporary view of Chicago Avenue looking east from the “L”.
Here, CSL car 19xx is heading eastbound on Chicago Avenue, having passed the north-south “L” and a safety island.
Chicago Avenue looking west toward the “L”.
CSL 1724. I’m wondering if this is on Wabash, just north of the Chicago River. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 1856. Not sure of the exact location, but it appears to be one of Chicago’s angle streets. Patrick writes: “CSL 1856 looks to be eastbound on Harrison (it appears signed for Harrison), crossing Ogden. The building on the northeast corner is still there.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
The J.L. Higgie building, at Ogden and Harrison, as it appears today.
CSL 1300, signed for Cicero Avenue. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL 1301 on the 14-16th Street line. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
Madison and Wells in the early 1900s. Not sure if we are looking east or west. Mike Payne writes, “I believe the picture on Madison and Wells is looking west; in the distance you can see Market St, and the weird “L” stub structure ending on the south side of Madison.”
The old Market Street stub-end “L” terminal, which was used by Lake Street trains until the late 1940s. It was demolished shortly thereafter, and Market Street itself was turned into the north-south portion of Wacker Drive in the 1950s.
CSL 1371, signed for Taylor-Sedgwick-Sheffield.
CTA 1693 on the Division route, probably in the late 1940s. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL 1885 southbound on the Kedzie line. From the street addresses, I’d say we are on California Avenue. The sign on the from of the car advertises “1275 New Streetcars and Buses – Soon,” so perhaps this is circa 1945-46. I recently came across a CTA document advertising the 1275 figure, and it was dated January 1946. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 1459. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL 1076 is southbound in the 1940s, but on which line? Perhaps the sign, indicating a route via Larrabee and Wells, offers a clue. Phil Oellrich says, “CSL car 1076 is southbound on Damen Avenue about to turn south on Lincoln Avenue at Irving Park Blvd. The route is Lincoln-Rosehill . On August 1, 1948, the CTA discontinued Lincoln-Rosehill service, while extending the North Damen Bus to follow roughly the same route north of Irving Park. The white Terra-Cotta building behind car 1076 housed the North Center Theatre at 4031 N Lincoln, which opened on February 3, 1926 and closed in 1963. The building was demolished in 1966-67.” (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
The same corner today. Lincoln is to the left, Damen to the right, and Irving Park would be right behind us. We are looking north.
CSL 3106. But which line is this, and which “L” is in the background? It’s hard to make out for sure, but the side sign may say 18th Street. Patrick writes: “CSL 3106 is on Leavitt, northbound, at 21st Street. The buildings are still there. The Douglas L is in the background.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
21st and Leavitt today.
CSL Pullman 620 is southbound on Western Avenue, while some track work goes on nearby. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
The caption on this photo reads, “Westbound car 2623 passes under the Illinois Central main line at 75th and South Chicago Avenue, over the diagonal tracks of the busy South Chicago line.” Bill Shapotkin notes, “Indeed, this car is on 75th St and has just x/o UNDER the IC. The car is W/B (note platform of IC’s Grand Crossing station at left atop embankment).” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 2813 on the Hammond, Whiting, and East Chicago line, which was jointly through-routed by both the Surface Lines and the aforementioned Indiana operator. Streetcar service was eliminated on this line in 1940, but this picture looks older than that. Bill Shapotkin: “This picture (of which I have a copy myself) was taken in Exchange (JUST EAST of Indianapolis Blvd) looking west in East Chicago. Note the “Y” in the wire behind the car. As an aside, the tracks in Exchange are still in-place. David Stanley and I JUST HAPPENED to visit here when Exchange was being repaved. The pavement was removed up to the railhead — with the rails left in-place and (within a few days) paved over AGAIN.”
The photo caption reads, “The open fields behind car 2701 notwithstanding, the corner of 79th and State was a busy transfer point. This eastbound 79th Street car clatters over the CSL tracks on State.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
It’s October 1871, shortly after the Great Chicago Fire. The view is of State and Madison, looking northeast. The various horse cars we see are serving the Madison, Blue Island, and State Street lines.
Here, the caption reads, “43rd-Root. Westbound car 3280, about to cross Halsted Street to reach its west terminal at the Stock Yards. This line competed with the Stock Yards “L” and lasted until 1953.” Andre Kristopans adds, “3280 turning from nb State into wb Root. Old Bowman dairy bldg still there.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
The old Bowman Dairy building at 43rd and Root as it looks today.
CTA trolley bus 9713 is shown heading westbound on North Avenue at Cicero on April 26, 1970. The last Chicago trolley bus ran in 1973.
CTA Flxible propane bus 8050, shown here on Central Avenue near the end of its service life in 1971, was part of a series delivered in 1956-57. These buses replaced some of the last Chicago streetcars, but they were woefully underpowered for the job they had to do. I believe we are just south of Belmont Avenue. Trolley buses last ran on Central on January 7, 1970. The old street lamps were holdovers from an earlier era, and were retained in some shopping areas of the city for some time, even after more modern lights were installed.
The same area today. We are looking south on Central Avenue, just south of Belmont.
After the Chicago Cubs won their first world championship since 1908, the Chicago Transit Authority put a special “wrap” on one bus (I think the number is 8305) for a limited time, and ran it on Addison, which passes right by Wrigley Field. The following two pictures were taken there on November 9, 2016. Bill Shapotkin adds, “While the Cub’s victory was the first in 108 years, it was also the first since moving to Wrigley Field (formerly Weegman Park). When the Cub’s won the 1908 series, they were still playing on the West Side grounds (roughly Wood/Polk, if I recall the location correctly).” Yes, that is also where games for the 1906 WS between the Cubs and White Sox were played (the Sox won, 4 games to 2). Legend has it there was an insane asylum located near West Side Grounds, which is supposedly the origin of the expression, “from out of left field.”
Here, 8305 heads west on Addison. There is a lot of construction around the ballpark these days, as entire blocks have been cleared, and a couple of large hotels are going up.
I was lucky to get all of 8305 in the frame here, as it was “at speed” and I had to dodge traffic in the middle of the busy street to get this unobstructed shot.
CTA bus 700 is powered by Lithium batteries, and is one of two currently owned by the authority, although there are plans for 20 or 30 more. These are the first electric buses the CTA has had since the last trolley bus ran in 1973. I did not board this bus, but would expect it to provide a ride similar to a trolley bus.
CTA electric bus 700 at the west end of route 21 (Cermak), which is the North Riverside Mall, on November 29, 2016.
It’s June 1962 at Rondout, and we see a North Shore Line freight train, headed up by electric loco 455.
This June 1962 North Shore Line photo looks like it was taken at about the same time as one in our previous post More Color Restorations (August 9, 2016). As you can see from the sign on car 744, the occasion was a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip. This may be the excursion on June 22, 1962, which was billed as a farewell trip. As it turned out, a few additional fantrips were held before the interurban was abandoned on January 21, 1963. Don’s Rail Photos says, “744 was built by Pullman in 1928. It was modernized in 1940.” This car is on the wye at the Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee.
This photo of North Shore Line 774 plus 3 looks to have been taken where the line shifted from 5th to 6th Street in Milwaukee. The date is January 13, 1963, just eight days before service ended. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)
A photo stop on the same January 13, 1963 fantrip. Perhaps one of our keen-eyed readers can help identify the location. Don’s Rail Photos says, “774 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930, It was rebuilt as Silverliner on May 9, 1950.” Joey Morrow writes: “NSL 774 is west of Green Bay Jct. The line to the west leads to the Highwood shops and offices. In the distance you can see the bridge that is currently used by the Metra UP-N. You can still see where the NSL once ran under the bridge. The line to the east leads to The Lake Bluff station just across the street out of the shot. Not totally sure if the cement that once held the catenary supports is still there or not, but the telephone POLES behind the camera man are still there.” (J. W. Vigrass Photo)
It’s April 1964, more than a year after North Shore Line service ended. Car 251 is at the head of the line here, and has already been sold to the Illinois Railway Museum, where she runs today. This may also be a J. W. Vigrass photo, but it is not marked as such.
A close-up of the last picture shows a sign: “Acq’d for Ill. Ry. Museum. Do not climb, tamper with, or remove parts from this car.” Sound advice, indeed!
Our previous post The Littlest Hobo (November 27, 2016), which featured some pictures of scrapped Pacific Electric “Hollywood” cars stacked up like cordwood, inspired me to run this photo, showing one of the cars that actually was saved:
Pacific Electric “Hollywood” car 5112 in Watts local service on April 9, 1958. By then, the service was being operated by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority. Don’s Rail Photos says, “637 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1922. It was rebuilt in 1939 and rebuilt in 1950 as 5112. It became LAMTA 1801 in 1958. It was retired and restored as 637 at Orange Empire Railway Museum in March 1960.”
Although the late Merritt Taylor, Jr. may have been, in some fashion, a “closet railfan,” he was also responsible for the ill-fated Railbus experiment on the Red Arrow Lines in 1967-68. This was an attempt to replace rail with buses that could also run on railroad tracks. Fortunately, the effort proved to be a failure. Taylor had found that he couldn’t simply convert all his rail lines to bus service, without losing much of the rights-of-way in turn due to the terms under which rail service had started many years earlier. It turns out that the requirements of a railcar and a bus are too much different to be combined into a single vehicle. Within a couple years of this experiment, Taylor sold Red Arrow to SEPTA, and the Norristown, Media and Sharon Hill lines remain rail to this day.
PS- Here is a video with many additional pictures of the Red Arrow Railbus:
The experimental Brill-built pre-PCC 7001 as it appeared at 77th and Vincennes on September 10, 1959, shortly before it was scrapped. (Clark Frazier Photo)
Hampton Wayt writes:
I am trying to research the history of the design (industrial design or “styling”) of the PCC streetcars. Over the years, two different people have independently indicated to me that industrial designer Donald R. Dohner was responsible for the design of the PCC, but I have been unable to verify it. Dohner was the head of design for Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company from 1930 through 1934 and would work on many transportation designs while employed there. He also had an industrial design firm in Pittsburgh after leaving Westinghouse.
Dohner was the unrecognized primary designer of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s iconic GG-1 electric locomotive for which Raymond Loewy got (or should I say, “took”) full credit. For years, retired industrial designers that I met told me that Dohner designed the GG-1 despite what Loewy claimed, and after doing some serious in depth research I was finally able to prove they were right (Loewy made some very minor changes to the GG-1 prior to manufacturing, but would take credit for much, much more than he actually did). Dohner never received credit for the design during his lifetime, and only began to receive recognition for it for the first time 75 years later after the fact, thanks to an article I wrote on the matter for Classic Trains magazine in 2009.
A couple of years ago I was also able to verify that Dohner designed the New Haven Comet Train with the Goodyear Zeppelin Corporation, his having worked heavily on the design in 1933. He never received credit for the design of this train either.
Neither of the two individuals who credited Dohner with the PCC design knew the name of the streetcar, but both stated that it was a design that was used universally all over the country. One of the men also stated that the cars were in Brooklyn first and then “all over.” That suggests the PCC to me, but I do not know where to begin to research it.
Do you happen to know if any of the original paperwork for the Presidents Conference Committee exists for researchers? If so, I would love visit the archives and take a close look and see if Dohner’s name appears anywhere in the record as it did in Pennsylvania Railroad paperwork found during my research on the GG-1.
It also occurred to me that Dohner could have been involved in the design of the experimental CSL 4001 car, which was developed with Westinghouse. Do you happen to know if there is any documentation on the development of this unit?
Any guidance you can give me would be greatly appreciated, and I look forward to your response.
Starting in 1929, CSL* was a very active participant in the Electric Railway Presidents’ Conference Committee, whose work developed the standardized PCC car, which soon dominated the industry.
The PCC patents were assigned to the Transit Research Corporation, whose stock was owned by the various transit operators who took part in the program. CSL apparently owned the largest amount of stock, which in turn was owned by the Chicago Transit Authority starting in 1947. Eventually Walter J. McCarter, first general manager of CTA, became the head of TRC, which I think has since been disbanded.
*Chicago Surface Lines
TRC’s successor, in turn, was the Institute for Rapid Transit, which merged with the American Public Transit Association, and is now called the American Public Transportation Association. So, you might try contacting them to see what they may know.
However, if Dr. Harold E. Cox is to be believed, TRC’s main focus was technical patents involving components such as truck and wheel design. (See his 1965 article, “What is a PCC Car?”)
Dr. Cox is, as far as I know, still living, so you might try contacting him as well. However, according to this news story from 2015, Dr. Cox is fighting a courageous public battle with Alzheimer’s.
It may be that a lot of the familiar PCC design “look” came from each individual car manufacturer, building on previous work done by others. The progression would be from the 1934 Brill car 7001, built for the Chicago Surface Lines, to the very similar cars built for Washington, D.C. in 1935 (the order split between Brill and St. Louis Car Company), to the 1936 PCCs from SLCC (Brooklyn, Chicago, et al) and the one car built by the Clark Equipment Co. (which has standee windows, not seen on many cars prior to the end of WWII).
The efforts from various manufacturers to develop a “type car” preceded the PCC effort, as can be seen in the Brill “Master Units” circa 1932. But these efforts were never 100% successful, although the PCC car did come the closest. Still, there were numerous variations between cities, Chicago’s being the most different of them all.
Even after the concept of a “standard” PCC car became the norm for North American cities, the PCCs made by SLCC competitor Pullman have subtle differences in styling, including a somewhat boxier overall appearance. This may have been the result of differences in manufacturing techniques between the two companies.
So, chances are the styling of the PCC cars cannot be ascribed to a single individual, but it is certainly possible that one person, such as your candidate, may have played a very important part.
There is also a complicating factor regarding Brill. While Brill built the CSL 7001, and part of the 1935 order for DC, the company had a policy of not paying any patent royalties to other firms. Thus, they parted ways with the PCC project at this point.
However, they did come up with their own PCC knock-off, which was called the Brilliner. They first started marketing these in 1938, and the last ones were sold in 1941. Very few were sold.
The Brilliner came too late to save Brill. By then, St. Louis Car Company had the bulk of the streetcar market to themselves, with Pullman taking a much smaller share.
Brill exited the streetcar market at this point, and merged with ACF in 1944 to form ACF-Brill. They made buses, including some trolley buses.
I hope other people who read this may be able to offer additional insights of their own. I am assuming you are familiar with the available literature, which includes various books such as PCC From Coast to Coast. There is at least one book about the St. Louis Car Company, written by the late Alan R. Lind. Some of the other PCC books, which you might find for cheap or in public libraries, include PCC: The Car That Fought Back, An American Original: The PCC Car, and Dr. Cox’s PCC Cars of North America.
We have written about the short-lived and ill-fated Speedrail project before. This was a 1949-51 attempt to continue interurban service between Milwaukee and Waukesha, Wisconsin, led by Jay Maeder, Sr. (1908-1975).
This was a noble effort. Maeder grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where a former interurban still runs today as the Shaker Heights Rapid Transit line.
Milwaukee’s TMER&L (aka TMER&T) west line was known locally as the “Rapid Transit” line, and with a little less bad luck, could have evolved into something akin to what Cleveland has today. But alas, it was not to be, due to a horrific head-on collision in 1950 that killed several people.
Jay Maeder, Sr. was at the controls of one of the two cars involved in the collision, which remains controversial to this day. The question recently came up on one of the online transit forums I belong to, as to what Maeder’s background was. I did manage to come up with a few things:
His real name was John Edward Maeder. Jay was a nickname. In the 1930 census, the family was living in South Euclid, Ohio.
In a 1949 newspaper article, regarding the Speedrail purchase, Maeder is referred to as a “Cleveland industrial engineer.” Apparently, he was an efficiency expert.
“Jay” probably was a nickname based on his first initial. Perhaps, like many other people, he did not like his first name (cf. James Paul McCartney).
At that time, John Edward Maeder was nicknamed “Ed,” which is how they had him in some of the census records. Apparently, he did not like his first name.
John Edward Maeder’s birth certificate gives the same date of birth as that given for Jay Edward Maeder (March 11, 1908).
The 1910 US census says there was a two-year-old child named Edward in the household, but does not mention other siblings. Since his father’s name was also John, that may be why they were calling him Edward from an early age.
The 1920 census has him as J. Edward, but again mentions no siblings.
In the 1930 census, they have him as Edward J., but again there are no siblings listed. He was 22 years old then, and his occupation is listed as a newspaper solicitor (salesman?).
So, everything seems to indicate he was an only child. Haven’t found an obit for Jay Maeder Sr. yet though.
Jay Maeder Sr.’s wife Catherine died in Houston, Texas in 2009, aged about 99.
I don’t know if Jay Maeder Sr. ever lived in Texas, or if, sometime after the 1950 crash, he reverted to using John, his real name. His son, Jay Maeder, Jr. lived from 1947 to 2014, and was the last writer for the Little Orphan Annie cartoon strip before it was retired in 2010.
If Speedrail had survived, it surely would have received a shot in the arm from the opening of County Stadium along its route in 1953. The Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee that year, and had good attendance for several years before moving to Atlanta in 1965. The Braves were in the World Series two years running (1957-58), winning the world championship in 1957 over the New York Yankees.
Pictures of the Grand Rapids (Michigan) streetcar system are rare, as it quit in 1935. Creating a roster would be difficult, as the cars had names rather than numbers. Here, we see the “F. W. Wurtzburg,” built by St. Louis Car Company in 1926. This type of lightweight city car helped the Grand Rapids Railroad win the prestigious Coffin Medal in 1926. (James B. M. Johnson Photo)
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