Milwaukee Renaissance

Streetcars coming and going at the Public Market.

Streetcars coming and going at the Public Market.

Milwaukee’s first streetcar line since 1958 (“The Hop”) opened last November. While I had been on a car, prior to the opening, and took a few pictures of them in operation about a month ago, yesterday was my first opportunity to actually ride them. I hopped on and off the free (free for the first year, at any rate) cars several times, as did many other riders of all ages. I would say this line, which will be followed by a lakefront extension next year, is a success.

One of the more important stops is the Milwaukee Public Market in the Historic Third Ward. The streetcar is a good way to get there, as parking in the area is at a premium. I have included some pictures taken inside the Public Market, to give you some of the flavor of the place.

The sun was shining, and the weather was beautiful. While taking these pictures, I was reminded of similar trips I had made many years ago to places like Philadelphia and Boston. Some of what I photographed in those cities does not run anymore, so it is especially gratifying to know that streetcars appear to have a bright future in Milwaukee. The public has accepted them, and they are now a part of the everyday scene.

-David Sadowski

PS- Some of our keen-eyed readers have noticed that parts of the line operate on battery power, without overhead wires.

At the Intermodal station, south end of the line.

At the Intermodal station, south end of the line.

Leaving the Intermodal station, turning onto St. Paul Avenue.

Leaving the Intermodal station, turning onto St. Paul Avenue.

Southbound on Broadway.

Southbound on Broadway.

An eastbound car, turning from Jackson onto Ogden.

I believe this is the Ogden and Jackson stop. This car is heading east.

I believe this is the Ogden and Jackson stop. This car is heading east.

Burns Commons.

Burns Commons.

The Public Market stop.

The Public Market stop.

Heading west from the Public Market along St. Paul Avenue. This car will now cross the Milwaukee River.

Heading west from the Public Market along St. Paul Avenue. This car will now cross the Milwaukee River.

One vendor at the Public Market has re-purposed a VW bus.

One vendor at the Public Market has re-purposed a VW bus.

The Intermodal station.

The Intermodal station.

The streetcar operator has a full-across cab, with a door separating them from riders. This implies a certain type of fare collection, once the free rides end. I would expect riders will purchase fares from machines located at each station, and roving agents will spot-check payment on board each train. This gives the streetcar and advantage in faster boarding than a city bus, where the driver has to collect fares.

The streetcar operator has a full-across cab, with a door separating them from riders. This implies a certain type of fare collection, once the free rides end. I would expect riders will purchase fares from machines located at each station, and roving agents will spot-check payment on board each train. This gives the streetcar and advantage in faster boarding than a city bus, where the driver has to collect fares.

Burns Commons.

Burns Commons.

Burns Commons.

Burns Commons.

About to turn from Jackson Street to Kilbourn Avenue.

About to turn from Jackson Street to Kilbourn Avenue.

A southbound car at the Cathedral Square stop.

A southbound car at the Cathedral Square stop.

A southbound car approaches the Public Market.

A southbound car approaches the Public Market.

This car has just left the Historic Third Ward stop.

This car has just left the Historic Third Ward stop.

The owner tells me this is a 1955 Buick.

The owner tells me this is a 1955 Buick.

Another merchant had a VW bus near the Public Market.

Another merchant had a VW bus near the Public Market.

Coffee love.  A cappuccino from Collectivo, across the street from the Public Market.

Coffee love. A cappuccino from Collectivo, across the street from the Public Market.

Like Chicago, Milwaukee has a river going through downtown, with numerous bridges that are raised and lowered when boats need to pass.

Like Chicago, Milwaukee has a river going through downtown, with numerous bridges that are raised and lowered when boats need to pass.

Burns Commons, north end of the line.

Burns Commons, north end of the line.

Now Available On Compact Disc

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


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

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

Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Capital Transit, Altoona & Logan Valley, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Pennsylvania Railroad, Illinois Terminal, Baltimore Transit, Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto, St. Louis Public Transit, Queensboro Bridge, Third Avenue El, Southern Iowa Railway, IND Subway (NYC), Johnstown Traction, Cincinnati Street Railway, and the Toledo & Eastern

$5 from the sale of each set will go to Kenneth Gear, who has invested thousands of dollars to purchase all the remaining artifacts relating to William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, WI. It is very unlikely that he will ever be able to recoup his investment, but we support his efforts at preserving this important history, and sharing it with railfans everywhere.

Disc One
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick):
01. 3:45 Box motor #5
02. 3:32 Box motor #5, May 24, 1953
03. 4:53 Engine whistle signals, loco #12, January 17, 1954
04. 4:13 Loco #12
Capital Transit:
05. 0:56 PCC car 1557, Route 20 – Cabin John line, July 19, 1953
06. 1:43
Altoona & Logan Valley:
07. 4:00 Master Unit car #74, August 8, 1953
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit:
08. 4:17 Car 306 (ex-AE&FRE), September 27, 1953
09. 4:04
10. 1:39
Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1s:
11. 4:35 August 27, 1954
12. 4:51
Illinois Terminal:
13. 5:02 Streamliner #300, northward from Edwardsville, February 14, 1955
14. 12:40 Car #202 (ex-1202), between Springfield and Decatur, February 1955
Baltimore Transit:
15. 4:56 Car 5706, January 16, 1954
16. 4:45 Car 5727, January 16, 1954
Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto:
17. 4:19 Interurbans #83 and #80, October 1954
18. 5:20 #80, October 1954
Total time: 79:30

Disc Two
St. Louis Public Service:
01. 4:34 PCCs #1708, 1752, 1727, 1739, December 6, 1953
Queensboro Bridge Company (New York City):
02. 5:37 Cars #606, 605, and 601, December 31, 1954
03. 5:17
Third Avenue El (New York City):
04. 5:07 December 31. 1954
05. 4:47 Cars #1797, 1759, and 1784 at 59th Street, December 31, 1954
Southern Iowa Railway:
06. 4:46 Loco #400, August 17, 1955
07. 5:09 Passenger interurban #9
IND Subway (New York City):
08. 8:40 Queens Plaza station, December 31, 1954
Last Run of the Hagerstown & Frederick:
09. 17:34 Car #172, February 20, 1954 – as broadcast on WJEJ, February 21, 1954, with host Carroll James, Sr.
Total time: 61:31

Disc Three
Altoona & Logan Valley/Johnstown Traction:
01. 29:34 (Johnstown Traction recordings were made August 9, 1953)
Cincinnati Street Railway:
02. 17:25 (Car 187, Brighton Car House, December 13, 1951– regular service abandoned April 29, 1951)
Toledo & Eastern:
03. 10:36 (recorded May 3-7, 1958– line abandoned July 1958)
Capital Transit:
04. 16:26 sounds recorded on board a PCC (early 1950s)
Total time: 74:02

Total time (3 discs) – 215:03


The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.

Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.

Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)

To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

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

Bibliographic information:

Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages

Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960

Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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For Shipping Elsewhere:

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

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