Our 200th Post

CTA Pullman-built PCC 4281 on Route 36 - Broadway-State. Andre Kristopans: "4281 is on 119th east of Morgan."

CTA Pullman-built PCC 4281 on Route 36 – Broadway-State. Andre Kristopans: “4281 is on 119th east of Morgan.”

It is fitting that our 200th Trolley Dodger blog post should appear on Thanksgiving weekend. There is always so much in life to be thankful for.

We are thankful for our relative good health (knock on wood), and thankful for friends and family. Since we began this venture in January 2015, we have made many new friends among our readers.

I am thankful to be able to share these classic images with you.

After wandering far afield recently to such exotic places as Milwaukee and Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, we are home for the holidays with an all-new post chock full of Chicago transit pictures.

We wanted to make this one something special. But that is our goal with every post… we want #199 to be as good as #200, and #201 to be as good as this one. We may not always succeed, but it is not for lack of trying.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- We threw in a few shots from outside the Chicago area, just because we liked them.

Meet the Author

Incredibly, this building, which served as the terminal for the Logan Square branch of Chicago's "L" until 1970, is still there, although heavily modified, and now serves as the home of City Lit Books at 2523 N. Kedzie. (Chicago Transit Authority Photo)

Incredibly, this building, which served as the terminal for the Logan Square branch of Chicago’s “L” until 1970, is still there, although heavily modified, and now serves as the home of City Lit Books at 2523 N. Kedzie. (Chicago Transit Authority Photo)

FYI, this Saturday at 5 pm (11-25) I will be at City Lit Books (2523 N. Kedzie Blvd., Chicago) to discuss my new book Chicago Trolleys. Additional authors will be there as well. Their books are Cycling in Chicago and The Great Chicago Fire. I hope to see you there.

More information here.

Recent Correspondence

Wally Weart writes:

David, I want to let you know how much I enjoy your postings. I grew up in Chicago during and after World War II and was able to ride a lot of the streetcar and “L” lines as well as those interurbans still in operation through the 50s and 60s.

Your pictures bring back a lot of memories and show me things that I missed during that period of time as well. Please do know how much your work is appreciated and keep it going.

I appreciate that, thanks! I will do my best.

Another of our regular readers writes:

Creative writing has always been your skill, whether it was the CERA blog, the Trolley Dodger blog, as well as several CERA publications. Some of your postings on the Trolley Dodger blog are mini stories in themselves. Writing seems to come easily to you and you do it well. Such has never been the case for me. Although I have done some writing, maintaining a blog like you do would be boring to me.

I was extremely impressed with your postings on the Fairmount Trolley, the CA&E 400 series Pullmans, and Andre Kristopan’s analysis of the end of the Red streetcars (see our post The Fairmount Park Trolley, November 7, 2017).

Thanks… I think that everyone has a unique contribution to make in life, and we all need to find that “niche” for ourselves. I seem to have found mine with this type of work. No doubt there are other things you excel at that would leave me clueless.

While some might think working on a blog such as this would be a burden, I consider it a privilege and a responsibility. Like many other things in life, you get back out of it what you put in. I hear from so many people who are grateful to see our posts. Like The Beatles famously sang, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

It’s anything but boring to me, because in the process of researching these articles, I always learn so much. And when I do get things wrong, which does happen, our readers are quick to point that out, and I learn from that too. So, we all learn together and I feel that our readers are an integral part of what goes on here. So again, I am thankful to you.

If you challenge yourself to “think outside the box,” you can achieve more in life than you ever dreamed possible. There is so much to learn in life that I don’t see how it would ever be possible to be bored. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to take it all in.

Recent Finds

A westbound Garfield Park "Met" car crosses the B&OCT tracks in Forest Park.

A westbound Garfield Park “Met” car crosses the B&OCT tracks in Forest Park.

In July 1965, a two-car train of flat-door CTA 6000s is on the ground-level portion of the Ravenswood route, todays' Brown Line. (Roger Puta Photo)

In July 1965, a two-car train of flat-door CTA 6000s is on the ground-level portion of the Ravenswood route, todays’ Brown Line. (Roger Puta Photo)

CSL Small Pullman 891 is on north Lincoln Avenue, running on Through route 3 (Lincoln-Indiana). Cliff Burnstein adds, "The CSL small Pullman 891 is on the northbound track at the end of the line on Lincoln at Peterson near Kedzie. . The poles have been reversed and 891 will shortly cross over to the southbound track. The north suburban gas tower is seen in the distance to the right."

CSL Small Pullman 891 is on north Lincoln Avenue, running on Through route 3 (Lincoln-Indiana). Cliff Burnstein adds, “The CSL small Pullman 891 is on the northbound track at the end of the line on Lincoln at Peterson near Kedzie. . The poles have been reversed and 891 will shortly cross over to the southbound track. The north suburban gas tower is seen in the distance to the right.”

CTA "Turtleback" 1702 is at Division and California.

CTA “Turtleback” 1702 is at Division and California.

CSL 584, a Milwaukee Avenue car, is at Madison and Canal, in front of the Chicago Daily News building.

CSL 584, a Milwaukee Avenue car, is at Madison and Canal, in front of the Chicago Daily News building.

CTA 6152 at Waveland and Halsted, north end of the Halsted car line in April 1952.

CTA 6152 at Waveland and Halsted, north end of the Halsted car line in April 1952.

CTA 1801 at Kedzie and 67th Streets on March 28, 1948.

CTA 1801 at Kedzie and 67th Streets on March 28, 1948.

CTA 407, signed for the Museum Loop, is on Roosevelt Road in August 1949.

CTA 407, signed for the Museum Loop, is on Roosevelt Road in August 1949.

CTA535 on Milwaukee at Paulina in April 1951 (this is the date that I received with this negative, however it must be wrong). Milwaukee was converted to buses on May 11, 1952. George Trapp: "The photo at Milwaukee and Paulina looks to me to be earlier than 1951, auto at far right looks like it dates to late 1920’s early 1930’s and no post war autos are in sight so I guess the photo is from the late 1930’s early 1940’s."

CTA535 on Milwaukee at Paulina in April 1951 (this is the date that I received with this negative, however it must be wrong). Milwaukee was converted to buses on May 11, 1952. George Trapp: “The photo at Milwaukee and Paulina looks to me to be earlier than 1951, auto at far right looks like it dates to late 1920’s early 1930’s and no post war autos are in sight so I guess the photo is from the late 1930’s early 1940’s.”

CTA 363 at the Pennsylvania Railroad viaduct at Ashland and Arbor in March 1951. Andre Kristopans notes, "363 Ashland north of Fulton – bridge has three railroads over it, closer behind car is PRR with Milwaukee Road also using the same tracks, beyond is C&NW. Note that street under bridge is much narrower than rest of street. Ashland was widened relatively late, and the bridges were never widened out to this day."

CTA 363 at the Pennsylvania Railroad viaduct at Ashland and Arbor in March 1951. Andre Kristopans notes, “363 Ashland north of Fulton – bridge has three railroads over it, closer behind car is PRR with Milwaukee Road also using the same tracks, beyond is C&NW. Note that street under bridge is much narrower than rest of street. Ashland was widened relatively late, and the bridges were never widened out to this day.”

CTA 415 at Cermak and Kenton. The date given is August 2, 1949, but that must be wrong, since there is a Chicago & West Towns streetcar at left and the 415 still has a CSL logo. So perhaps 1947 would be more like it as the West Towns streetcars quit in April 1948.

CTA 415 at Cermak and Kenton. The date given is August 2, 1949, but that must be wrong, since there is a Chicago & West Towns streetcar at left and the 415 still has a CSL logo. So perhaps 1947 would be more like it as the West Towns streetcars quit in April 1948.

CTA Sedan 3358, still sporting a CSL logo, is at Cottage Grove and 115th, south end of the Cottage Grove line, in May 1948.

CTA Sedan 3358, still sporting a CSL logo, is at Cottage Grove and 115th, south end of the Cottage Grove line, in May 1948.

CTA 6168, signed for Route 38, is on the Wabash Avenue bridge in October 1951.

CTA 6168, signed for Route 38, is on the Wabash Avenue bridge in October 1951.

CSL Sedan 6316 is on Wentworth and 73rd Street, running on Route 22, Clark-Wentworth.

CSL Sedan 6316 is on Wentworth and 73rd Street, running on Route 22, Clark-Wentworth.

CSL 3318 is at Damen and 74th on November 28, 1946.

CSL 3318 is at Damen and 74th on November 28, 1946.

CTA Pullman 585 is signed for Halsted and Waveland in February 1954, which suggests it is running on Route 8 - Halsted, which was bussed three months later. Andre Kristopans: "585 is on Emerald south of 79th."

CTA Pullman 585 is signed for Halsted and Waveland in February 1954, which suggests it is running on Route 8 – Halsted, which was bussed three months later. Andre Kristopans: “585 is on Emerald south of 79th.”

CTA 6172 is at Lawrence and Austin on February 26, 1950, running on Route 81.

CTA 6172 is at Lawrence and Austin on February 26, 1950, running on Route 81.

Some passengers are getting off CSL 3312, which is running on the Damen Avenue extension. This gives you an idea of how some men dressed back in the 1940s when it was cold out.

Some passengers are getting off CSL 3312, which is running on the Damen Avenue extension. This gives you an idea of how some men dressed back in the 1940s when it was cold out.

CSL work car S-53. Not sure of the location.

CSL work car S-53. Not sure of the location.

CTA 4380, signed for Clark-Wentworth, on June 30, 1955. This may be South Shops.

CTA 4380, signed for Clark-Wentworth, on June 30, 1955. This may be South Shops.

CTA Postwar PCC 7053 is signed for Route 38 in this November 1952 view. This designation was used for Route 4 - Cottage Grove cars to indicate they were terminating at Grand and Wabash. As you can see, some postwar cars were used on Cottage, and this one appears to have been converted to one-man operation.

CTA Postwar PCC 7053 is signed for Route 38 in this November 1952 view. This designation was used for Route 4 – Cottage Grove cars to indicate they were terminating at Grand and Wabash. As you can see, some postwar cars were used on Cottage, and this one appears to have been converted to one-man operation.

CSL 7054 in the late 1940s, running on Route 22, probably near the south end of the line. Andre Kristopans: "7054 is AT the south end of 22 – 81st and Halsted about to turn north into Halsted."

CSL 7054 in the late 1940s, running on Route 22, probably near the south end of the line. Andre Kristopans: “7054 is AT the south end of 22 – 81st and Halsted about to turn north into Halsted.”

CTA 4008, in "tiger stripes," is on Route 20 - Madison in March 1948. Notice the sign advertising the Chicago Herald-American, which at this time was owned by the Hearst Corporation. It was sold to the Chicago Tribune in 1956.

CTA 4008, in “tiger stripes,” is on Route 20 – Madison in March 1948. Notice the sign advertising the Chicago Herald-American, which at this time was owned by the Hearst Corporation. It was sold to the Chicago Tribune in 1956.

North Shore Line wood car 300,in the days circa 1939-42 when it was used as the "club car" for the fledgling Central Electric Railfans' Association.

North Shore Line wood car 300,in the days circa 1939-42 when it was used as the “club car” for the fledgling Central Electric Railfans’ Association.

North Shore Line "Birney" car 333 circa 1947. (Donald Ross Photo) Larry Sakar says this is "southbound at 5th & Chase."

North Shore Line “Birney” car 333 circa 1947. (Donald Ross Photo) Larry Sakar says this is “southbound at 5th & Chase.”

North Shore Line wood car 201, which looks like it is headed for the scrapper (probably in the late 1940s). (Donald Ross Photo)

North Shore Line wood car 201, which looks like it is headed for the scrapper (probably in the late 1940s). (Donald Ross Photo)

South Shore Line car 107 at the South Bend terminal near the LaSalle Hotel in 1954. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

South Shore Line car 107 at the South Bend terminal near the LaSalle Hotel in 1954. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Chicago Rapid Transit Company "L" car 328 at Indiana Avenue in September 1936. It is signed as a Stock Yards local.

Chicago Rapid Transit Company “L” car 328 at Indiana Avenue in September 1936. It is signed as a Stock Yards local.

CRT "Met" car 2847 at Canal in August 1938. Riders could change here for Union Station. This station remained in service until June 1958, when the Congress rapid transit line opened.

CRT “Met” car 2847 at Canal in August 1938. Riders could change here for Union Station. This station remained in service until June 1958, when the Congress rapid transit line opened.

CTA Pullman 908 is at Navy Pier, east end of Route 65 - Grand.

CTA Pullman 908 is at Navy Pier, east end of Route 65 – Grand.

South Shore Line car 110 is in South Bend, not far from the LaSalle Hotel which was its east terminus until 1970. I presume it is heading into a storage yard.

South Shore Line car 110 is in South Bend, not far from the LaSalle Hotel which was its east terminus until 1970. I presume it is heading into a storage yard.

CSL experimental pre-PCC 4001 at South Shops in 1934. Like its counterpart 7001, it was used in service that year to bring people to A Century of Progress, the Chicago World's Fair.

CSL experimental pre-PCC 4001 at South Shops in 1934. Like its counterpart 7001, it was used in service that year to bring people to A Century of Progress, the Chicago World’s Fair.

CTA PCC 4168 is seen in 1949, signed for Route 42 - Halsted-Downtown (note the side sign says Halsted-Archer-Clark). There is a Route 8 - Halsted car behind it. The location is on Emerald south of 79th.

CTA PCC 4168 is seen in 1949, signed for Route 42 – Halsted-Downtown (note the side sign says Halsted-Archer-Clark). There is a Route 8 – Halsted car behind it. The location is on Emerald south of 79th.

CTA 7052 appears to be in dead storage at South Shops on June 30, 1955. Note the lack of overhead wire.

CTA 7052 appears to be in dead storage at South Shops on June 30, 1955. Note the lack of overhead wire.

CTA 4025 at South Shops on June 30, 1955.

CTA 4025 at South Shops on June 30, 1955.

A train of CRT steel 4000s emerges from the brand-new State Street subway in late 1943.

A train of CRT steel 4000s emerges from the brand-new State Street subway in late 1943.

Cable cars are shown here using the LaSalle Street tunnel under the Chicago River some time before they were replaced by streetcars in 1906.

Cable cars are shown here using the LaSalle Street tunnel under the Chicago River some time before they were replaced by streetcars in 1906.

CTA 4035 on Cottage Grove in 1953. Not sure of the exact location. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

CTA 4035 on Cottage Grove in 1953. Not sure of the exact location. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

CTA 4004 running on State Street, signed for Route 4 - Cottage Grove, in the early 1950s. (Walter Broschart Photo)

CTA 4004 running on State Street, signed for Route 4 – Cottage Grove, in the early 1950s. (Walter Broschart Photo)

CSL 4039 at the Madison and Austin Loop in August 1941.

CSL 4039 at the Madison and Austin Loop in August 1941.

CSL 7018, a Madison-Fifth car, heads west near Union Station in August 1941.

CSL 7018, a Madison-Fifth car, heads west near Union Station in August 1941.

CTA 7067 at South Shops on June 30, 1955. The "Enter at Rear" sign indicates this was a two-man car and was thus not one that had recently been assigned to Western Avenue. However, chances are the date I received is wrong, since George Trapp notes: " The photo of PCC #7067 at South Shops shows the car brand new, note CSL logo, so should be dated around May 18, 1947 when that car was delivered, for some reason St. Louis Car cranked the side signs to HALSTED on there first order of Post War cars when shipping. I have a photo of car #7089 just delivered with same side sign."

CTA 7067 at South Shops on June 30, 1955. The “Enter at Rear” sign indicates this was a two-man car and was thus not one that had recently been assigned to Western Avenue. However, chances are the date I received is wrong, since George Trapp notes: ” The photo of PCC #7067 at South Shops shows the car brand new, note CSL logo, so should be dated around May 18, 1947 when that car was delivered, for some reason St. Louis Car cranked the side signs to HALSTED on there first order of Post War cars when shipping. I have a photo of car #7089 just delivered with same side sign.”

CTA 7225 at South Shops in 1956.

CTA 7225 at South Shops in 1956.

Don's Rail Photos says that North shore Line wood car 131 "was built by Jewett Car in 1907. It was rebuilt in 1914 and rebuilt as a plow in 1930. It was retired in 1935 and scrapped in 1942."

Don’s Rail Photos says that North shore Line wood car 131 “was built by Jewett Car in 1907. It was rebuilt in 1914 and rebuilt as a plow in 1930. It was retired in 1935 and scrapped in 1942.”

CTA 7060 on June 30, 1955, possibly in dead storage.

CTA 7060 on June 30, 1955, possibly in dead storage.

CTA 7041, possibly in dead storage at South Shops on June 30, 1955.

CTA 7041, possibly in dead storage at South Shops on June 30, 1955.

CSL 7025 is downtown and signed for Madison-Fifth, which was a branch line of Route 20.

CSL 7025 is downtown and signed for Madison-Fifth, which was a branch line of Route 20.

CSL 7090 is at 81st and Halsted, south end of Route 22, in the late 1940s.

CSL 7090 is at 81st and Halsted, south end of Route 22, in the late 1940s.

CTA 7156 is signed as a one-man car (but appears to be convertible to two-man) at South Shops in October 1956. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

CTA 7156 is signed as a one-man car (but appears to be convertible to two-man) at South Shops in October 1956. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

CTA 4022 heading east on 63rd Street in the early 1950s.

CTA 4022 heading east on 63rd Street in the early 1950s.

CTA 4094 in dead storage at South Shops on June 30, 1955. Postwar Pullmans were an endangered species by then, practically all having been scrapped as part of the CTA's "PCC Conversion Program." I believe the date is correct; however George Trapp says, "Last Pullman PCC’s to be sent off to St. Louis were the oldest while the newest were sent first, 150 cars in series 4172-4371 went in 1953 with the rest in early 1954."

CTA 4094 in dead storage at South Shops on June 30, 1955. Postwar Pullmans were an endangered species by then, practically all having been scrapped as part of the CTA’s “PCC Conversion Program.” I believe the date is correct; however George Trapp says, “Last Pullman PCC’s to be sent off to St. Louis were the oldest while the newest were sent first, 150 cars in series 4172-4371 went in 1953 with the rest in early 1954.”

CTA 4401 on October 21, 1950.

CTA 4401 on October 21, 1950.

CTA 4401, with 4376 trailing, is heading north on Dearborn via Route 22 in 1955.

CTA 4401, with 4376 trailing, is heading north on Dearborn via Route 22 in 1955.

CTA 7268 is signed for Route 36 - Broadway-State and appears to be near Devon Station (car barn) in 1955. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

CTA 7268 is signed for Route 36 – Broadway-State and appears to be near Devon Station (car barn) in 1955. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

CTA side dump car N-1 at South Shops on May 16, 1954. A CERA fantrip was held on that day, over the last remaining streetcar lines that used the old red cars, which were retired from service two weeks later. (James C. Barrick Photo)

CTA side dump car N-1 at South Shops on May 16, 1954. A CERA fantrip was held on that day, over the last remaining streetcar lines that used the old red cars, which were retired from service two weeks later. (James C. Barrick Photo)

CTA side dump car N-1 at South Shops in October 1956. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

CTA side dump car N-1 at South Shops in October 1956. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Capital Transit Company pre-PCC 1053 is on line 42 - Mt. Pleasant in Washington, D. C. on September 26, 1948. This was probably on a fantrip.

Capital Transit Company pre-PCC 1053 is on line 42 – Mt. Pleasant in Washington, D. C. on September 26, 1948. This was probably on a fantrip.

CTA 6163 is at Lake and Austin in the early 1950s. The Park Theater has already been closed, which would probably date this to circa 1952-54. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

CTA 6163 is at Lake and Austin in the early 1950s. The Park Theater has already been closed, which would probably date this to circa 1952-54. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Lehigh Valley Transit car 702 is part of a three-car fantrip circa 1950 or 51 at stop #96 in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. This was in the waning days of the Liberty Bell Limited interurban between Allentown and Norristown. The "Bell" stopped running on the Philadelphia & Western's Norristown High-Speed Line in 1949.

Lehigh Valley Transit car 702 is part of a three-car fantrip circa 1950 or 51 at stop #96 in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. This was in the waning days of the Liberty Bell Limited interurban between Allentown and Norristown. The “Bell” stopped running on the Philadelphia & Western’s Norristown High-Speed Line in 1949.

CTA salt spreader AA-105 (ex-2854) at the North Avenue car barn in February 1952. Don's Rail Photos: "2854 was built by South Chicago City Ry in 1907 as SCCRy 340. It was rebuilt in 1907 and became C&SCRy 839 in 1908. It was renumbered 2854 in 1913 and became CSL 2854 in 1914. It was later converted as a salt car and renumbered AA105 in 1948. It was retired on February 17, 1954."

CTA salt spreader AA-105 (ex-2854) at the North Avenue car barn in February 1952. Don’s Rail Photos: “2854 was built by South Chicago City Ry in 1907 as SCCRy 340. It was rebuilt in 1907 and became C&SCRy 839 in 1908. It was renumbered 2854 in 1913 and became CSL 2854 in 1914. It was later converted as a salt car and renumbered AA105 in 1948. It was retired on February 17, 1954.”

CTA Pullmans 482, 584, and 518 on the scrap line at South Shops in March 1955. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

CTA Pullmans 482, 584, and 518 on the scrap line at South Shops in March 1955. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

CSL R-202 was a single-truck sand car. It is seen here on February 20, 1943.

CSL R-202 was a single-truck sand car. It is seen here on February 20, 1943.

CSL 4000 was a 1920s experiment in articulation that did not work out. It is seen here on the scrap track in the early 1940s.

CSL 4000 was a 1920s experiment in articulation that did not work out. It is seen here on the scrap track in the early 1940s.

With gas and tire rationing during World War II, CSL 2840, which had been in storage for ten years, was put back into service. Here, we see it on September 13, 1942.

With gas and tire rationing during World War II, CSL 2840, which had been in storage for ten years, was put back into service. Here, we see it on September 13, 1942.

CSL 2779 at South Shops on October 23, 1938. On this day, the Surface Lines held a fantrip that helped garner new members to the Central Electric Railfans' Association, which was just getting started. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)

CSL 2779 at South Shops on October 23, 1938. On this day, the Surface Lines held a fantrip that helped garner new members to the Central Electric Railfans’ Association, which was just getting started. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 407 and 432 in Forest Park in April 1955.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 407 and 432 in Forest Park in April 1955.

CA&E 413 at Wheaton on July 26, 1942.

CA&E 413 at Wheaton on July 26, 1942.

South Shore Line cars 109, 39, 353, and 103 are on west Chicago Avenue at Northcote Avenue in East Chicago, Indiana on July 16, 1956. Not long after this, street running in East Chicago came to an end, as the South Shore began using a new bypass route parallel to the Indiana Toll Road. (James C. Barrick Photo)

South Shore Line cars 109, 39, 353, and 103 are on west Chicago Avenue at Northcote Avenue in East Chicago, Indiana on July 16, 1956. Not long after this, street running in East Chicago came to an end, as the South Shore began using a new bypass route parallel to the Indiana Toll Road. (James C. Barrick Photo)

South Shore Line "Little Joe" freight loco 803, with a train of 25 cars, is in the 1100 block of west Chicago in East Chicago on July 9, 1956. (James C. Barrick Photo)

South Shore Line “Little Joe” freight loco 803, with a train of 25 cars, is in the 1100 block of west Chicago in East Chicago on July 9, 1956. (James C. Barrick Photo)

South Shore Line cars 107, 37, 27, and 5 are on east Chicago Avenue at Whiteoak Avenue in East Chicago on July 16, 1956. (James C. Barrick Photo)

South Shore Line cars 107, 37, 27, and 5 are on east Chicago Avenue at Whiteoak Avenue in East Chicago on July 16, 1956. (James C. Barrick Photo)

CRT 294 is signed as a Kenwood Local on July 21, 1934.

CRT 294 is signed as a Kenwood Local on July 21, 1934.

CTA 4109 at Madison and Austin in August 1948.

CTA 4109 at Madison and Austin in August 1948.

CTA 4383, I would assume, is turning from Clark onto westbound Devon as it is to run on Route 49 - Western.

CTA 4383, I would assume, is turning from Clark onto westbound Devon as it is to run on Route 49 – Western.

CTA Sedan 6317 is running on Route 4 - Cottage Grove in the south Loop.

CTA Sedan 6317 is running on Route 4 – Cottage Grove in the south Loop.

CSL Birney car 2000 in 1927.

CSL Birney car 2000 in 1927.

CRT 1048 is a Jackson Park Local on July 21, 1934.

CRT 1048 is a Jackson Park Local on July 21, 1934.

CRT 1763 is at Cermak Road on September 19, 1934.

CRT 1763 is at Cermak Road on September 19, 1934.

CRT 337 at Indiana Avenue in September 1936.

CRT 337 at Indiana Avenue in September 1936.

Queensboro Bridge car 534 on January 16, 1949.

Queensboro Bridge car 534 on January 16, 1949.

Queensboro Bridge car 534 on January 16, 1949.

Queensboro Bridge car 534 on January 16, 1949.

North Shore Line 719 is northbound on the Loop "L" at Adams and Wabash in June 1940.

North Shore Line 719 is northbound on the Loop “L” at Adams and Wabash in June 1940.

North Shore Line car 181 in Winnetka.

North Shore Line car 181 in Winnetka.

North Shore Line car 409 at the Milwaukee terminal yard in February 1952. (Donald Ross Photo) Don Ross adds, "North Shore 409 at the Milwaukee station yard is interesting. That car had no smoking area and it was completely open. We used that car for our ERA meetings and the North Shore people helped to make sure it was set up."

North Shore Line car 409 at the Milwaukee terminal yard in February 1952. (Donald Ross Photo) Don Ross adds, “North Shore 409 at the Milwaukee station yard is interesting. That car had no smoking area and it was completely open. We used that car for our ERA meetings and the North Shore people helped to make sure it was set up.”

North Shore Line cars 720 and 747 in Milwaukee on October 12, 1941.

North Shore Line cars 720 and 747 in Milwaukee on October 12, 1941.

North Shore Line car 725 in Milwaukee in June 1940.

North Shore Line car 725 in Milwaukee in June 1940.

North Shore Line 170 at the Highwood Shops on July 5, 1949.

North Shore Line 170 at the Highwood Shops on July 5, 1949.

North Shore Line 250 in Wilmette on July 11, 1939.

North Shore Line 250 in Wilmette on July 11, 1939.

CSL 3210 on the 51st-55th route, probably in the late 1930s.

CSL 3210 on the 51st-55th route, probably in the late 1930s.

North Shore Line Electroliner 803-804, which was new at the time, on a February 8, 1941 fantrip, making a photo stop at South Upton Junction.

North Shore Line Electroliner 803-804, which was new at the time, on a February 8, 1941 fantrip, making a photo stop at South Upton Junction.

Updated Posts

FYI, new material has been added to our post The Other Penn Central (May 9, 2016). Several additional pictures have also been added to The Fairmount Park Trolley (November 7, 2017).

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.

-David Sadowski

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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

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Milwaukee Rapid Transit

SR 60 laying over @ Waukesha loop Spring, 1950

SR 60 laying over @ Waukesha loop Spring, 1950

With construction well underway on the new Milwaukee streetcar, and Milwaukee Transit Day (October 7th) fast approaching at the Illinois Railway Museum, this seems like an opportune time for guest contributor Larry Sakar to share more of his research with us.

Larry is the author of Speedrail: Milwaukee’s Last Rapid Transit? We thank him for his generosity in sharing these pictures and information with our readers.

-David Sadowski

PS- FYI, all copies of Chicago Trolleys that were purchased during the pre-order have been mailed. Yesterday was the official release date for the book, and it is now in stock and autographed copies are available for immediate shipment. We hope that you will enjoy this new work (more information at the end of this post).

Larry Sakar writes:

The Trolley Dodger is getting a lot of notice. A friend of mine who does not have a computer has heard about it, most likely from Bill Shapotkin or Andre Kristopans. When something is well done, people notice, so I’m not surprised.

I promised you some pictures of the former TM station in Kenosha at 8th Ave. & 55th St. These 2 photos were taken by Ray DeGroote in September 1963 probably just days before the building was torn down. The passageway beneath the portico was where TM interurbans pulled in. They then curved to the right in the photo, on their way back to Milwaukee crossed Sheridan Rd. on the long elevated trestle, and then came parallel to the C&NW RR’s mainline between Chicago & Milwaukee. From around 1952 or ’53 to the end in Sept.’63 the former waiting room was a pizza restaurant – Vena’s Pizzeria.

Former TM Kenosha station 9-63 Ray DeGroote

Former TM Kenosha station 9-63 Ray DeGroote

Former TM Kenosha Station 9-63 Ray DeGroote note freight tracks.

Former TM Kenosha Station 9-63 Ray DeGroote note freight tracks.

When Speedrail acquired the 6-60 series curved side lightweight cars from Shaker Heights Rapid Transit in October 1949, they were shipped to Milwaukee via the Nickel Plate Road (CMSTP&STL) to Chicago, where the NKP flat cars were interchanged with the Milwaukee Road. The MILW brought them to The Transport Co.’s. Cold Spring shops where they were unloaded and given a thorough inspection. First to arrive was car 65 on 10-6-49. Shaker Heights had painted it in an experimental green and yellow paint scheme to improve visibility at grade crossings. Sometime between 10-7-49 and 10-23-49 someone repainted the front end of car 65 in an obvious effort to emulate the “Liberty Bell Limited” design on the LVT 1000 series high speed cars. No one knows who did it or when. First we see 65 coming down the Michigan St. hill eastbound on the shakedown runs over both the Waukesha & Hales Corners lines on 10-7-49. In the second shot, note that the front has been repainted white with the quasi-LVT design and air horns placed where they are on an LVT 1000 series car. The second shot is in the 25th St. curve next to the tanks of the Milwaukee Gas Light Co. Today I-94 the East-West Freeway occupies the r.o.w.

SHRT60 arriving from Cleveland 10-49 Lew Martin

SHRT60 arriving from Cleveland 10-49 Lew Martin

SR 65 @ 6th & Michigan on 10-7-49 shakedown trip.

SR 65 @ 6th & Michigan on 10-7-49 shakedown trip.

SR 65 @ 25th St, curve 10-23-49

SR 65 @ 25th St, curve 10-23-49

Harper SR fan trip 10-49 schedule

Harper SR fan trip 10-49 schedule

I believe car 60 was the last to arrive from Shaker Heights. First we see it on the Milwaukee Division ERA fan trip of 10-16-49 crossing Brookdale Dr. In 2016 my friend and colleague Chris Barney took these 2 photos of Brookdale Dr. as it looks today.

SR 60 inaugural fan trip Brookdale 10-16-49

SR 60 inaugural fan trip Brookdale 10-16-49

Brookdale Dr xing on H.C. line in 2016 C.N.Barney

Brookdale Dr xing on H.C. line in 2016 C.N.Barney

Lots of absolutely fantastic material in this collection I just inherited. Look at these 2 documents. Without saying a word, there’s a very clear picture of the way things were being run at Speedrail in April of 1950! Owing $8000+ to TMER&T was definitely not the way to go!

Collection Letter from TMER&T attys against MRT&S 4-5-50

Collection Letter from TMER&T attys against MRT&S 4-5-50

Dunning letter to MRT&S from TMER&T re: overdue payments 3-8-50

Dunning letter to MRT&S from TMER&T re: overdue payments 3-8-50

Talk about valuable information, in this collection I just inherited was a list, no actually there were 2 lists. A railfan but not too likely the friend who gave me the collection walked down the scrap line out at the Waukesha gravel pit on March 1, 1952 and again two weeks later March 16, 1952. He wrote down the number of every car in the scrap line. This info is valuable because a year earlier the trustee sold 13 of the TM 1100 series heavy interurban cars to Afram Brothers Scrap Metal Co. in Milwaukee. Obviously, Speedrail was desperate for money so why not sell off what was no longer being used? $2,000 (approximate figure) went to pay for the transformation of LVT 1102 into Milwaukee Rapid Transit 66, the so-called, “last hope car.”

Notice, I did not say Speedrail 66. Legally, it was still The Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail Company but when Bruno V. Bitker took over as the court-appointed trustee, he ordered the Speedrail name painted out on the curved-side lightweight (60 series) car as well as removed from all timetables and tickets. He made it very clear that the Speedrail name immediately brought to mind the 9-2-50 fatal accident. That is also one of the reasons Jay Maeder was dismissed. From then on everything just said “Rapid Transit 234 W. Everett St.”

You may notice, by the way, that when I write the Speedrail corporate name I always capitalize “THE.” Maeder insisted on it because “The” in TMER&L was always capitalized and anything TM did was what he wanted to do as well. There is no better evidence of that than the first Speedrail timetable dated `10-16-49 which said “TM Speedrail”. Here are the covers of Speedrail’s very first and very last timetables, and for the Waukesha Transit Lines bus which replaced it, a fact you’ll notice they made sure to put on their timetable. Waukesha Transit Lines eventually became Wisconsin Coach Lines. They are still in business but are now part of the Coach USA system.

TM SR Timetable 10-16-49

TM SR Timetable 10-16-49

Rapid Transit TT West Jct. 6-4-51

Rapid Transit TT West Jct. 6-4-51

WTL Replacing the SR 7-1-51

WTL Replacing the SR 7-1-51

WTL Bus schedule 7-1-51

WTL Bus schedule 7-1-51

Here are the pictures I took at both the TM and North Shore stations on 4-5-72. I mentioned in a previous post that for many years after the TM M-R-K – Milwaukee-Racine-Kenosha was abandoned in 1947 the freight tracks used by Motor Transport Co. were still embedded in pavement. Here they are on 4-5-72.

TM Kenosha Station looking north 4-5-72

TM Kenosha Station looking north 4-5-72

Motor Transport Co. tracks TM Kenosha Sta. 4-5-72

Motor Transport Co. tracks TM Kenosha Sta. 4-5-72

The next 2 photos at the TM Kenosha station site show the point where the long elevated bridge over Sheridan Rd. began. The large building to the left was the Barr Furniture Co. which has since been torn down. The very last photo I just scanned shows the sign created by Kenosha radio broadcaster Lou Rugani to commemorate where TM’s Kenosha station used to stand at 8th Ave. & 55th St. Just one problem with the sign. The Don Ross photo on the sign shows the Racine, not the Kenosha station.

TM Kenosha Station next to Barr Furniture 4-5-72

TM Kenosha Station next to Barr Furniture 4-5-72

Sign commemorating TM Kenosha station

Sign commemorating TM Kenosha station

From the TM station I walked out to the North Shore Line’s Kenosha station which is on 22nd Ave & 63rd St. if I recall correctly. I knew it was still standing but I didn’t expect it to be behind a stockade fence. I do not know why it was fenced off on 3 sides.

The first photo shows the northbound platform looking northeast. You can see the fence. The track area had been paved with asphalt but other than that the station appeared unchanged in the 9 years since abandonment.

NSL Kenosha Station 4-5-72 northbound platform

NSL Kenosha Station 4-5-72 northbound platform

I then snapped a series of 3 pictures of the southbound platform starting at it’s north end, then the middle of it and last the south end of that southbound platform. All of that changed some years later when the station became a restaurant. They added a banquet room to the north end of the station which ruined its historic Arthur U. Gerber appearance. Then they extended the restaurant over the track area and removed the southbound platform entirely.

NSL Kenosha Station south end southbound platform 4-5-72

NSL Kenosha Station south end southbound platform 4-5-72

NSL Kenosha Station Southbound platform 4-5-72

NSL Kenosha Station Southbound platform 4-5-72

NSL Kenosha Station 4-5-72 Southbound platform

NSL Kenosha Station 4-5-72 Southbound platform

The last NSL picture shows the abandoned NSL r.o.w. just north of Ryan Rd. I had just taken the picture when I noticed a large building in the distance. It turned out to be the Carrollville substation.

Abandoned NSL r.o.w. north of Ryan Road Carrollville substation distant 1971

Abandoned NSL r.o.w. north of Ryan Road Carrollville substation distant 1971

Here is something I think you will enjoy. This picture appeared in a much smaller version in the Speedrail book. This is a much larger, more detailed print. These seats were installed by Shaker Heights when they acquired the curved side cars from Inter City Rapid Transit in 1940. They had purchased some of the very first Cincinnati curved side lightweights built from Kentucky Traction & Terminal but never placed them in service because their small motors made them unable to maintain the speed necessary for the 2 SHRT lines. They were kept on a storage track at Shaker’s Kingsbury Run shops and used for spare parts when the ICT cars arrived. That included these seats.

Interior SR 63

Interior SR 63

But there was one exception. Car 64 had green plush seats according to several people I spoke to who rode these cars on Speedrail. The Speedrail riders did not like these cars. They were glad Jay Maeder had saved the Waukesha line from the impending abandonment being sought by Northland-Greyhound but they wanted the TM 1100’s to remain in service.

Maeder became quite angry when he found out the Waukesha riders were complaining about the 60 series cars and he ran this ad in the Waukesha Freeman. Somebody should have told him you don’t bite the hand that feeds you. You never start off a communication with, “We all know…” Yes, he knew, and the railfans knew, but the average everyday rider thought these were new cars when they first saw them. One look at the interiors told them otherwise.

Maeder response to 60 series cars complaints

Maeder response to 60 series cars complaints

To give you an example of just how much the 60’s were disliked, the late Len Garver told me that one day he and his friend Jerry Fisher were riding a 60-series car to Waukesha. A lady getting off the car near Waukesha East Limits turned to the motorman and said, “Do all of these cars ride this way? I feel like I’ve just ridden over Niagara Falls in a barrel!”

Much of it had to do with car weight and height of the car above the rail. This photo from the collection of Herb Danneman illustrated the problem. Note the height of car 1138 at left with car 60 at right. This photo was taken on the Milwaukee Division ERA fan trip of 10-16-49 and is at 46th St.

TM 1138 & SR 60 meet @ 46thSt. 10-16-49. Herb Danneman coll.

TM 1138 & SR 60 meet @ 46thSt. 10-16-49. Herb Danneman coll.

Two of these pictures are ones I sent previously, but they were not the best quality. Two are ones you might never have seen before. One is pretty dramatic. Lew Martin took a picture as car 39 was rolling down the embankment of the r.o.w. after the 9-2-50 wreck. The other is of 1192 as it looked after the accident. Note how badly the front end was caved in. The photo was taken at the Waukesha Gravel pit. The car was towed out there once the investigation of the crash had been completed.

SR39 rolling off embankment 9-2-50 Lew Martin

SR39 rolling off embankment 9-2-50 Lew Martin

SR 40 after push off embankment 9-2-50

SR 40 after push off embankment 9-2-50

SR 1192 at Wauk. Grvl pit after 9-50 wreck

SR 1192 at Wauk. Grvl pit after 9-50 wreck

Remains of SR 39 dumped off r.o.w. 9-2-50 (color)

Remains of SR 39 dumped off r.o.w. 9-2-50 (color)

The one picture of the Speedrail crash that I did have showed the wreck before the cars were rolled off the right-of-way. How long was it before the tracks were cleared? A few hours, perhaps?

I don’t recall any of the newspapers giving specifics as to how long it took to clear the wreck, much less to cut apart what was left of car 39 and all of car 40. I believe one account did say the tracks had been cleared by late afternoon which to me means about 4:00 or 5:00 pm. The biggest problem they had was trying to get the cars separated. Trip #5, the last one of the day with duplex 1184-85 hooked up to 1193, the rear car of the heavy duplex, attempted to pull them apart but couldn’t. A heavy duty National Guard wrecker was then brought in and it was able to do it. Ironic, isn’t it that when Hyman-Michaels was scrapping the cars at the gravel pit in 1952 they used 1184-85 as their office car. It’s the one with the sign saying attached to its front that said “No Trespassing. Property of Milwaukee Rapid Transit and Speed Rail Co.”  Someone recently asked me why they separated the Speedrail name into two words. I guess only Hyman-Michaels Co. would have known.

Firemen trying to pry wrecked SR cars apart on 9-2-50 from MJ 9-3-50

Firemen trying to pry wrecked SR cars apart on 9-2-50 from MJ 9-3-50

I know they were serious about prosecuting anyone caught trespassing on the property. Al Buetschle, whom I mentioned in a recent post as the person who saved Milwaukee streetcar 978 went out to the gravel pit soon after scrapping began. He tried to get close enough to where the scrappers were working so he could get some good pictures. He tried hiding in the brush and weeds close to the tracks and they caught him. He was warned that if they ever caught him again he would be turned over to the Waukesha County Sheriff. After that, he discovered that walking up the C&NW RR tracks west from Springdale Rd. which were adjacent to the gravel pit was the “safe” way to gain entry without detection. The other was by going out there on Sundays. The scrappers did not work on Sundays and the place was pretty much deserted. It was on one of these “hunts” that he “saved” the roll sign from Car 66 as well as an Ohio Brass trolley retriever. The problem with the retriever was that it was rather cumbersome. He did not drive a car in 1952 so he had to take the replacement for Speedrail “Waukesha Transit Lines” bus to and from. He was afraid if the bus driver saw it he would report him so he hid the retriever under a log. Regrettably, it wasn’t there the next time he came back. When he moved to California in 1961 the roll sign found its way to someone else and from him to the person who owns it today. I have a color slide of it taken at a train show where it was on display back in the ’80’s or ’90’s.

Springdale Road. on Waukesha Line looking east in TM days Ed Wilson

Springdale Road. on Waukesha Line looking east in TM days Ed Wilson

Abandoned TM ROW Looking east to Springdale Rd. 4-14-71 LAS

Abandoned TM ROW Looking east to Springdale Rd. 4-14-71 LAS

We have a new TM/Speedrail mystery on our hands. This is a photo of a TM or Speedrail 1100 series car eastbound on the Waukesha line at Sunny Slope Rd. The date of the photo is unknown as is the photographer. My friend and colleague Chris Barney obtained this from the Waukesha Freeman newspaper. The car is headed east on the eastbound track but look at the car. It’s running backwards!

The "mystery photo." A TM or Speedrail 1100 poss. 1142 is running backwards EB on the eastbound track at Sunny Slope Rd. J.G. Van Holten plant at right. Collection of C.N. Barney.

#1 – The “mystery photo.” A TM or Speedrail 1100 poss. 1142 is running backwards EB on the eastbound track at Sunny Slope Rd. J.G. Van Holten plant at right. Collection of C.N. Barney.

The streamlined modern type building to the right was the J.G. Van Holten Vinegar works along the westbound track. TM had a siding into the plant and delivered a brine car at least once a month. That continued into the Speedrail era. There were 2 crossover tracks both west of the crossing which the grainy quality of the photo makes impossible to see. That was where the Speedrail accident of 2-8-50 took place.

I’d like to ask my fellow TM fans for any information as to why a car would be running backwards. The switch into the plant was from the westbound track so even if the car had been switching a car in or out there would be no reason for it to be running backwards on the eastbound track.

Chris’ and my friend, Herb Danneman came up with what may be the explanation. On 2-29-52 Hyman-Michaels, the scrapper who dismantled Speedrail moved all of the cars in storage in Milwaukee to the Waukesha gravel pit for scrapping. We know for a fact that the cars operated in trains of 2 or 3 cars. TM 1142 which had been Speedrail’s freight motor from 12/50 to the end of service hauled a number of out of service 1100’s to the gravel pit. The “scrap trains” were operated westbound on the eastbound track as demonstrated in this photo by George Gloff. This is car 66 being towed by car 63. 1100’s could not couple onto curved side cars because of the difference in floor heights. That might be what’s going on here. It might have been easier just to run backwards to Milwaukee than wyeing at the gravel pit if they still could. We tried enlarging the photo to 8x`10 to see if the person standing on the rear platform is wearing a uniform which he would if this was some sort of unusual TM or Speedrail move but it only made him a shadow. We can’t tell.

The photo of 66 being towed is at Calhoun Rd. Some present-day photos at Sunny Slope and one I took there in 1971 are also included. J.G. Van Holten moved to Waterloo, Wisconsin in 1956 after a dispute with the then Town of New Berlin (now city). Seems the Van Holten company was disposing of its waste (they made both pickles and sauerkraut) in a retention pond west of the plant. That must have been a smell you’d never forget!

#2 - The Sunny Slope Rd. xing lkg. west in 5/71. Former J.G. Van Holten plant @ right. Note: power lines not in same place as #1.

#2 – The Sunny Slope Rd. xing lkg. west in 5/71. Former J.G. Van Holten plant @ right. Note: power lines not in same place as #1.

#3 - Speedrail 1142 arr. @ Wauk. Gravel pit poss. 2-29-52. C. N. Barney collection.

#3 – Speedrail 1142 arr. @ Wauk. Gravel pit poss. 2-29-52. C. N. Barney collection.

#4 - SR 66 being towed to Wauk. Gravel Pit passing Kuney's at Calhoun Rd. 2-29-52 George Gloff photo.

#4 – SR 66 being towed to Wauk. Gravel Pit passing Kuney’s at Calhoun Rd. 2-29-52 George Gloff photo.

#5 - Calhoun Rd. xing lkg west. Part of Kuney's bldg. at left. 2013 photo by C.N. Barney

#5 – Calhoun Rd. xing lkg west. Part of Kuney’s bldg. at left. 2013 photo by C.N. Barney

#6 - Sunny Slope Rd. xing lkg west 2013. That's me in the photo. C.N. Barney photo

#6 – Sunny Slope Rd. xing lkg west 2013. That’s me in the photo. C.N. Barney photo

#7 - Lkg. east from west of Sunny Slope Rd. xing 2013. C;N. Barney

#7 – Lkg. east from west of Sunny Slope Rd. xing 2013. C;N. Barney

#8 - Ex J.G. Van Holten plant hidden in the brush as seen from the U.P. RR (ex C&NW) r.o.w. 2013 C. N. Barney photo

#8 – Ex J.G. Van Holten plant hidden in the brush as seen from the U.P. RR (ex C&NW) r.o.w. 2013 C. N. Barney photo

#9 - Literal end of track on Lincoln Ave. (Waukesha East Limits), 9-26-52. Note track has been cut. John Schoenknecht collection.

#9 – Literal end of track on Lincoln Ave. (Waukesha East Limits), 9-26-52. Note track has been cut. John Schoenknecht collection.

#10 - Newspaper clipping showing 2-8-50 Speedrail accident at Sunny Slope Rd. Larry Sakar collection.

#10 – Newspaper clipping showing 2-8-50 Speedrail accident at Sunny Slope Rd. Larry Sakar collection.

Have you ever studied a picture and not noticed something obvious? I was thinking of the “mystery” photo I just sent you and that’s when it hit me. This can’t be any kind of normal passenger run. Because the car is running backwards on the eastbound track the entry door is on the wrong side. How would they board or discharge passengers? The left side of the 1100’s didn’t have any doors!

If this car was heading back to 25th St. to pick up more 1100’s for transport to the Waukesha Gravel pit, you’d want it to be backwards so you could couple to another set of cars. Then you’d be position correctly for the reverse trip to Waukesha. Running backwards like that there was absolutely no place to turn the car around except West Junction loop. They’d have run backwards to the switch that took cars from the Waukesha to the Hales Corners line which was a short distance north of the West Jct. station, then switched to the Hales Corners line where they’d now be facing south, gone around the loop and then you’d be facing north frontwards). They could not have gone all the way to the Public Service Building. First, there was no way to turn a car around there and second by Feb. 29 of 1952 the rails had tar put over them and the trolley wire had been removed from the trainshed.

I think Herb Danneman was right. This is 2-29-52 and that is car 1142.

-Larry Sakar

Postscript

Scott Greig (see Comments section below) was wondering if there was any sort of listing of which Speedrail cars went to the Waukesha Gravel Pit for scrapping. He is in luck. Among the many great documents I found in that collection Herb Danneman so generously gave me were 2 lists of cars that were in the scrap line and elsewhere on the Speedrail property on March 1, 1952 and March 16, 1952. The list was written in pencil and hard to read so I typed it up and scanned in both lists

Thanks Scott, Charles and Robert for the great comments and superb information.

-Larry

Recent Finds

CTA PCC 7199, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, is eastbound on 120th near Halsted circa 1952-55. This was the south end of Route 36 - Broadway-State. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

CTA PCC 7199, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, is eastbound on 120th near Halsted circa 1952-55. This was the south end of Route 36 – Broadway-State. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

CTA 6148, and "Odd 17" car, was built by the Surface Lines in 1919. Here we see it southbound, turning from Clark onto Halsted.

CTA 6148, and “Odd 17” car, was built by the Surface Lines in 1919. Here we see it southbound, turning from Clark onto Halsted.

CTA 1750 heads west on Randolph Street, signed for Route 16 - Lake Street, circa 1952-54. In the background, we see the Sherman House Hotel, the old Greyhound Bus Terminal, and the Garrick Television Center.

CTA 1750 heads west on Randolph Street, signed for Route 16 – Lake Street, circa 1952-54. In the background, we see the Sherman House Hotel, the old Greyhound Bus Terminal, and the Garrick Television Center.

CTA 1775 heads west on Cermak Road at Kostner circa 1952-54. This photo gives you a good view of a Chicago safety island.

CTA 1775 heads west on Cermak Road at Kostner circa 1952-54. This photo gives you a good view of a Chicago safety island.

CTA 1728 and 3127 on Route 21 - Cermak, just east of Kenton, circa 1952-54.

CTA 1728 and 3127 on Route 21 – Cermak, just east of Kenton, circa 1952-54.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 310 and follower (309?) are on the west side of Mannheim road near Roosevelt Road on a 1950s fantrip.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 310 and follower (309?) are on the west side of Mannheim road near Roosevelt Road on a 1950s fantrip.

CA&E 310 on a 1955 fantrip on the Mt. Carmel branch.

CA&E 310 on a 1955 fantrip on the Mt. Carmel branch.

Marion (Indiana) Railways Birney car 8. It was probably built by St. Louis Car Company circa 1922-23, and scrapped in 1947.

Marion (Indiana) Railways Birney car 8. It was probably built by St. Louis Car Company circa 1922-23, and scrapped in 1947.

Marion Railways 8 circa World War II.

Marion Railways 8 circa World War II.

New Washington and Wabash “L” Station

The new Chicago Transit Authority “L” station at Washington and Wabash recently opened. It replaces two stations, at Madison and Randolph. Having one station instead of two speeds up service on the Loop. The Madison station was closed at the beginning of the project, while Randolph remained open until the new one was ready.

This new station is very attractive and seems designed well to handle large crowds. The old Randolph station was already being cut up for scrap when I took these pictures. Not sure what happened to the large CTA logo that was added when that station was renovated in 1954.

Washington and Wabash is conveniently located near Millennium Park, and also provides easy transfer to CTA buses heading east and west.

-David Sadowski

Charlie On the M.T.A.

A period illustration for the M.T.A. song (aka Charlie on the M.T.A.).

A period illustration for the M.T.A. song (aka Charlie on the M.T.A.).

After purchasing a “Charlie Ticket” on our recent trip to Boston (see Back in Boston, September 15, 2017), that got us to thinking about the song that inspired it, generally known as Charlie On the M.T.A. We spent some time recently looking into the origins of this iconic song.

It all started in 1949, when the late Walter O’Brien ran for Mayor of Boston on the Progressive Party ticket. He had no money for advertising, but he did have some folksinging friends, who recorded several songs for his campaign, including The People’s Choice, The O’Brien Train, We Want Walter A. O’Brien, and The M.T.A. Song.

These had new lyrics set to old melodies that the folksingers, who included Bess Lomax Hawes, Al Katz, Sam Berman, Al Berman, and Jackie Steiner, were already familiar with. The M.T.A. song was set to the tune of The Ship That Never Returned, written in 1865 by Henry Clay Work.

The same song also inspired The Wreck of the Old 97.

Fare hikes were a reason to protest the newly formed M.T.A. The Massachusetts legislature had allowed the Boston Elevated Railway Company to absorb its competitors in 1922, creating a monopoly. When the company went bankrupt in 1947, the legislature bought the company, bailing out the shareholders, and formed the Massachusetts Transportation Authority (now called the MBTA).

As a result, a five cent surcharge was added to the existing ten cent fare. Since it was not easy to adapt existing fare collection equipment, riders had to pay an extra nickel when getting off the train– hence the theme of the song.

Bess Lomax Hawes, who had been in the Almanac Singers, picked the tune, while most of the new lyrics were written by Jackie Steiner. It was Hawes, however, who wrote the memorable verse about how Charlie’s wife brought him a sandwich every day and handed it to him through the window of the train as it rumbled by.

The newly recorded song made its debut on October 24, 1949. O’Brien hired a truck with a PA system and had it drive around the city, playing his campaign songs. Of these, M.T.A. was by far the most popular and enduring.

O’Brien got very few votes, but Charlie gained Boston immortality in the process.

Cut to 1955. Folksinger Richard “Specs” Simmons taught the song to Will Holt, who recorded his own version in 1957. This was on its way toward being a hit when his record company began getting complaints from the Boston area, accusing Holt of promoting a radical.

Not knowing the true origin of the song, Holt had no idea that Walter A. O’Brien was a real person.

An edited version was issued, but the damage was done. It was left to the Kingston Trio to record the best and by far most famous version of the song in 1959. They avoided controversy by changing the name of the mayoral candidate to the fictional George O’Brien.

Reportedly, when Will Holt recorded his version, he cut in Richard “Specs” Simmons for one-third of the publishing, which eventually provided him the cash to purchase a bar in San Francisco’s North Beach area, now known as Specs’ Twelve Adler Museum Cafe. He died at age 86 in October 2016.

Most other people involved with the song are no longer with us. Walter O’Brien has died. Bess Lomax Hawes, sister of Alan Lomax and daughter of John Lomax, passed away in 2009. However, Sam Berman, who sang lead on the original 1949 version, lives in Lexington and is in his early 90s. His brother Arnold, also in his 90s, may still be alive. Lyricist Jackie Steiner is also still with us.

You can listen to several versions of the song, including the 1949 original and Will Holt’s, here.

-David Sadowski

Recent Correspondence

A model of GM&O 1900.

A model of GM&O 1900.

Charles Harris of New Zealand writes:

In 1946 Ingalls Iron Works manufactured the one and only Ingalls 4-S diesel loco, tested on several railroads and then sold to GM&O. Used until 1966 and then scrapped. Used a Superior marine engine, with apparently a distinctive sound.

Do any of your recordings feature the Ingalls 4-S? and or film etc.


Kenneth Gear
replies:

I am unaware of any sound recordings of the Ingalls 4-S diesel locomotive. Since it was a one of a kind loco and surely sought out by fans, and considering it lasted to the mid-sixties, the possibility exists that someone recorded it. I’ll keep an eye (and ear) out for it, I would watch for DVDs of vintage GM&O Diesels, perhaps it was filmed at some point with a sound movie camera. If so, the footage and sound track may have ended up on a DVD release.

You might also contact the Meridian Railroad Museum in Meridian, Mississippi: 1805 Front Street, Meridian, MS 39301, phone: (601) 485-7245.

GM&O was one of the local railroads here and the staff there my know of something.

By the way, on the Yahoo Group RAILROAD RECORD FANCLUB I’ve conversed with a person named Doug Harris who also lives in New Zealand. Any relation?

Our New Book Chicago Trolleys— Now In Stock!

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.)

We are pleased to report that our new book Chicago Trolleys was released on September 25, 2017 by Arcadia Publishing. You can order an autographed copy through us (see below). Chicago Trolleys is also available wherever Arcadia books are sold.

Overview

Chicago’s extensive transit system first started in 1859, when horsecars ran on rails in city streets. Cable cars and electric streetcars came next. Where new trolley car lines were built, people, businesses, and neighborhoods followed. Chicago quickly became a world-class city. At its peak, Chicago had over 3,000 streetcars and 1,000 miles of track—the largest such system in the world. By the 1930s, there were also streamlined trolleys and trolley buses on rubber tires. Some parts of Chicago’s famous “L” system also used trolley wire instead of a third rail. Trolley cars once took people from the Loop to such faraway places as Aurora, Elgin, Milwaukee, and South Bend. A few still run today.

The book features 230 classic black-and-white images, each with detailed captions, in 10 chapters:

1. Early Traction
2. Consolidation and Growth
3. Trolleys to the Suburbs
4. Trolleys on the “L”
5. Interurbans Under Wire
6. The Streamlined Era
7. The War Years
8. Unification and Change
9. Trolley Buses
10. Preserving History

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467126816
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date: 09/25/2017
Series: Images of Rail
Pages: 128

Meet the Author

David Sadowski has been interested in streetcars ever since his father took him for a ride on one of the last remaining lines in 1958. He grew up riding trolley buses and “L” trains all over Chicago. He coauthored Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936–1958, and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog. Come along for the ride as we travel from one side of the city to the other and see how trolley cars and buses moved Chicago’s millions of hardworking, diverse people.

Images of Rail

The Images of Rail series celebrates the history of rail, trolley, streetcar, and subway transportation across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the people, places, and events that helped revolutionize transportation and commerce in 19th- and 20th-century America. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

The book costs just $21.99 plus shipping.

We appreciate your business!

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Praise for Chicago Trolleys

Kenneth Gear writes:

I just finished reading your book and I enjoyed it very much. Good, clear, concise, and informative writing.

I must compliment you on the choice and presentation of the photographs. It is obvious that you spent much time and effort to present these wonderful photos as perfectly restored as possible.

So many times the authors of books that are primarily “picture books” seem to have a complete disregard for the condition of the photos reproduced. I’ve often seen photos that are yellowed with age, water stained, ripped, folded, and scratched. Other times a book might contain photos that are not properly exposed, are crooked, out of focus, or the composition could have been easily corrected with a little cropping.

The photos in your book are absolutely fantastic! They are pristine, sharp, and have absolutely no blemishes at all. You also packed a lot of information into the captions as well. It’s a fine book and you should be proud, as I’m sure you are, to have your name on the cover.

NEW – Chicago Trolleys Postcard Collection

Selected images from Chicago Trolleys are now available in a pack of 15 postcards, all for just $7.99. This is part of a series put out by Arcadia Publishing. Dimensions: 6″ wide x 4.25″ tall

The Postcards of America Series

Here in the 21st century, when everyone who’s anyone seems to do most of their communicating via Facebook and Twitter, it’s only natural to wax a little nostalgic when it comes to days gone by. What happened to more personal means of communication like hand-written letters on nice stationery? Why don’t people still send postcards when they move someplace new or go away on vacation?

If that line of thinking sounds familiar, then Arcadia Publishing’s Postcards of America was launched with you in mind. Each beautiful volume features a different collection of real vintage postcards that you can mail to your friends and family.

Order your Chicago Trolleys Postcard Pack today!

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A Tale of Two Cities

This remarkable picture was taken at the North Shore Line's Milwaukee terminal in January 1963. for all we know, this may be the last night of operation. If so, the temperature was below zero.

This remarkable picture was taken at the North Shore Line’s Milwaukee terminal in January 1963. for all we know, this may be the last night of operation. If so, the temperature was below zero.

Today, we feature color slides taken in Chicago and Philadelphia. Those are the “two cities” in our title, but we also make brief side trips to Los Angeles and Mexico City. Somehow, though A Tale of Four Cities just doesn’t have the same ring.

Come to think of it, some of these pictures were taken in Milwaukee and South Bend, so that’s even more cities.

Chicago’s transit system and Philadelphia’s have shared a few things in common over the years. After the North Shore Line quit in 1963, the two articulated Electroliners (see one in our lead picture) were bought by the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company, better known as the Red Arrow Lines. Rechristened Liberty Liners, they continued in service from 1964 until about 1976.

Dr. Thomas Conway, Jr., who helped modernize the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban in the 1920s, did the same with the Philadelphia & Western, which later became part of Red Arrow.

In the late 1980s, Red Arrow’s successor SEPTA purchased several pairs of used Chicago Transit Authority rapid transit cars (from the 6001-6200 series) to help keep service going, as their existing equipment (Bullets and Strafford cars) was really showing its age.

While the CA&E’s 1953 cutback in service to Forest Park helped speed its demise but a few years later, the P&W Norristown line, which survives today, has never had direct service to downtown Philly.

The CA&E’s 10 curved-sided cars, built in 1945, are often cited as the last “standard” interurbans built in this country. Depending on how you define the word standard, some double-ended cars built for Red Arrow by St. Louis Car Company (they also built the CA&E cars) in 1949 might take the prize instead. These closely resemble PCC cars but don’t qualify as “true” PCCs because they used standard trucks and motors.

The other contenders for last standard interurban are two series built for the Illinois Terminal in the late 1940s. Double-end PCCs were purchased for the St. Louis to Granite City line, and streamliners for longer inter-city use.

For that matter, Pittsburgh Railways used PCC cars (built in the late 1940s) on their interurban lines to Washington and Charleroi. These cars continued in service in Pittsburgh for many years after the last interurban ran in 1953.

Scanning these images was just a starting point. I put in many hours of work in Photoshop to remove imperfections and improve the color. As always, if you have location information you can give us, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

We salute the many fine photographers, whose names are unfortunately not known to us, who took these exceptional pictures. It is important to give credit where credit is due, but in too many cases, when we receive a slide, negative, or print, there isn’t a name associated with it. We wish it were otherwise, but we are grateful that so many fine images have survived the decades in order to be shared with you. Our intentions are always to give these images, and the people who took them, the respect they deserve. When we have such information, we always give proper credit.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- You can see more great night shots in our previous post Night Beat (June 21, 2016).

Chicago Area

South Shore Line car 110 laying over at South Bend, Indiana in July 1963. This was the east end of the line until 1970, when service was cut back to the outskirts of town, and South Bend street running was eliminated. In 1992, service was extended to the South Bend International Airport, 3 miles northwest of downtown South Bend.

South Shore Line car 110 laying over at South Bend, Indiana in July 1963. This was the east end of the line until 1970, when service was cut back to the outskirts of town, and South Bend street running was eliminated. In 1992, service was extended to the South Bend International Airport, 3 miles northwest of downtown South Bend.

Sailors board a North Shore Line train at Great Lakes on June 1, 1962. Car 751 is at rear.

Sailors board a North Shore Line train at Great Lakes on June 1, 1962. Car 751 is at rear.

North Shore Line 731 is at Libertyville on the Mundelein branch. We featured another picture at this location, taken in warmer weather, in Our 150th Post (August 6, 2016).

North Shore Line 731 is at Libertyville on the Mundelein branch. We featured another picture at this location, taken in warmer weather, in Our 150th Post (August 6, 2016).

North Shore Line 723 at the front of a three-car train at an unidentified location. Andre Kristopans: "NSL 723 is on the Evanston L, I would say between Central and Noyes." George Trapp: " I believe the train is Northbound on the Evanston "L" somewhere between the Foster Street and Central Street stations, probably closer to the latter on the last section of the line to be elevated starting in 1928."

North Shore Line 723 at the front of a three-car train at an unidentified location. Andre Kristopans: “NSL 723 is on the Evanston L, I would say between Central and Noyes.” George Trapp: ” I believe the train is Northbound on the Evanston “L” somewhere between the Foster Street and Central Street stations, probably closer to the latter on the last section of the line to be elevated starting in 1928.”

North Shore Line car 773 and train on the Loop "L". The car is signed as a Chicago Express on the Shore Line Route, which was abandoned in July 1955.

North Shore Line car 773 and train on the Loop “L”. The car is signed as a Chicago Express on the Shore Line Route, which was abandoned in July 1955.

We ran another version of this image in a previous post, but this one is better because there is less cropping. A northbound CNS&M Shore Line Route train, headed up by 413, at the downtown Wilmette station in June 1954. The Shore Line was abandoned not much more than one year later. We are looking to the southeast.

We ran another version of this image in a previous post, but this one is better because there is less cropping. A northbound CNS&M Shore Line Route train, headed up by 413, at the downtown Wilmette station in June 1954. The Shore Line was abandoned not much more than one year later. We are looking to the southeast.

An Illinois Central Electric suburban commuter train in 1963. (Fred Byerly Collection)

An Illinois Central Electric suburban commuter train in 1963. (Fred Byerly Collection)

This picture, taken in September 1958, appears to show the back end of a CTA Congress branch train heading east over temporary trackage just east of DesPlaines Avenue, where there was a crossing at grade. Construction work was underway for I290, and the previous June, the new rapid transit line in the Congress expressway median had opened as far west as Cicero Avenue.

This picture, taken in September 1958, appears to show the back end of a CTA Congress branch train heading east over temporary trackage just east of DesPlaines Avenue, where there was a crossing at grade. Construction work was underway for I290, and the previous June, the new rapid transit line in the Congress expressway median had opened as far west as Cicero Avenue.

CTA Pullman-built PCC 4223 on a shoo-fly at Halsted and Congress circa 1952. The Congress expressway was under construction, and the first thing built were the bridges. That is the Garfield Park "L" in the background, which continued to operate until June 1958. The temporary trackage in Van Buren Street was a short distance west of here. We are facing north. Those lines on the car are shadows from nearby telephone wires.

CTA Pullman-built PCC 4223 on a shoo-fly at Halsted and Congress circa 1952. The Congress expressway was under construction, and the first thing built were the bridges. That is the Garfield Park “L” in the background, which continued to operate until June 1958. The temporary trackage in Van Buren Street was a short distance west of here. We are facing north. Those lines on the car are shadows from nearby telephone wires.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s goes up the ramp toward the Laramie station on the Lake Street "L" on July 5, 1960. The portion of the line west of here was relocated onto the nearby Chicao & North Western embankment on October 28, 1962. Earlier that year, power on the ramp was changed from overhead wire to third rail, to facilitate the transition.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s goes up the ramp toward the Laramie station on the Lake Street “L” on July 5, 1960. The portion of the line west of here was relocated onto the nearby Chicao & North Western embankment on October 28, 1962. Earlier that year, power on the ramp was changed from overhead wire to third rail, to facilitate the transition.

CTA Red Pullmans 532 and 153 pass each other on Route 8 - Halsted at Chicago. We are looking north.

CTA Red Pullmans 532 and 153 pass each other on Route 8 – Halsted at Chicago. We are looking north.

A train of CTA 4000s on a fantrip on the Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line). These were last used in regular service in 1973, but this slide is dated March 1975. (Rex K. Nelson Photo)

A train of CTA 4000s on a fantrip on the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line). These were last used in regular service in 1973, but this slide is dated March 1975. (Rex K. Nelson Photo)

CTA prewar PCC 4018 on Cottage Grove at 13th in February 1955. (William C. Janssen Photo)

CTA prewar PCC 4018 on Cottage Grove at 113th in February 1955. (William C. Janssen Photo)

CTA Red Pullman 109 is heading westbound on Blue Island at Western.

CTA Red Pullman 109 is heading westbound on Blue Island at Western.

CA&E 422 at the head of a four-car train.

CA&E 422 at the head of a four-car train.

CA&E 317 and 316 on an Illini Railroad Club fantrip in the 1950s.

CA&E 317 and 316 on an Illini Railroad Club fantrip in the 1950s.

CA&E 432 in winter.

CA&E 432 in winter.

CA&E 317.

CA&E 317.

CA&E 406 at State Road on the Batavia branch.

CA&E 406 at State Road on the Batavia branch.

To me, this looks like CA&E 419 is approaching the Forest Park terminal at DesPlaines Avenue. CTA Garfield Park "L" trains would loop via the wooden flyover at rear. Construction is underway at the station, which make me wonder if this picture was taken around the time of the September 1953 cutback.

To me, this looks like CA&E 419 is approaching the Forest Park terminal at DesPlaines Avenue. CTA Garfield Park “L” trains would loop via the wooden flyover at rear. Construction is underway at the station, which make me wonder if this picture was taken around the time of the September 1953 cutback.

CA&E 454. Methinks this is Bellwood, near 25th Avenue, where the nearby Chicago Great Western had a freight yard.

CA&E 454. Methinks this is Bellwood, near 25th Avenue, where the nearby Chicago Great Western had a freight yard.

CA&E 430 at Batavia Junction in 1957. (Fred Byerly Collection)

CA&E 430 at Batavia Junction in 1957. (Fred Byerly Collection)

CA&E 319 heads up a train of woods.

CA&E 319 heads up a train of woods.

CA&E 316 and 317 have just departed Forest Park and are heading west in the 1950s. CTA Garfield Park "L" cars would loop using the wooden trestle at rear. This is the approximate location of I290 today.

CA&E 316 and 317 have just departed Forest Park and are heading west in the 1950s. CTA Garfield Park “L” cars would loop using the wooden trestle at rear. This is the approximate location of I290 today.

CA&E 406 on a 1950s fantrip, most likely on the Batavia branch.

CA&E 406 on a 1950s fantrip, most likely on the Batavia branch.

CA&E 314 is at the rear of a two-car train that has just crossed the B&OCT tracks just east of DesPlaines Avenue. The station at left would be DesPlaines Avenue, so we are looking to the west. Note the large gas holder that was a local landmark for years.

CA&E 314 is at the rear of a two-car train that has just crossed the B&OCT tracks just east of DesPlaines Avenue. The station at left would be DesPlaines Avenue, so we are looking to the west. Note the large gas holder that was a local landmark for years.

CA&E 402 and train.

CA&E 402 and train.

CA&E 307 at the Wheaton Shops.

CA&E 307 at the Wheaton Shops.

If I had to guess, I would say this picture of a CTA wooden "L" car and CA&E 422 was taken at DesPlaines Avenue, shortly before the September 1953 cutback in service. The old station was on the east side of DesPlaines Avenue.

If I had to guess, I would say this picture of a CTA wooden “L” car and CA&E 422 was taken at DesPlaines Avenue, shortly before the September 1953 cutback in service. The old station was on the east side of DesPlaines Avenue.

A short CA&E freight train, complete with caboose. Some other interurbans did not use cabooses.

A short CA&E freight train, complete with caboose. Some other interurbans did not use cabooses.

CA&E 408 heads up a train that appears to be heading eastbound, possibly just west of DesPlaines Avenue.

CA&E 408 heads up a train that appears to be heading eastbound, possibly just west of DesPlaines Avenue.

CA&E 316 and 317, possibly on the same Illini Railroad Club fantrip shown in a few other pictures in this post. The location may perhaps be the Mt. Carmel branch, which operated on overhead wire instead of third rail.

CA&E 316 and 317, possibly on the same Illini Railroad Club fantrip shown in a few other pictures in this post. The location may perhaps be the Mt. Carmel branch, which operated on overhead wire instead of third rail.

CA&E 460 is at Fifth Avenue in Maywood on March 6, 1958. This was one of a handful of fantrips that were run after passenger service was abandoned on July 3, 1957. The second car may be 417. This was about as far east as trains could go at this point, as the CA&E's suspension of service had facilitated construction of what we now know as I290 near the DesPlaines River. The CA&E tracks were relocated slightly north of where they had crossed the river, and were ready for service again in 1959, but by then the railroad had abandoned all service and no trains were run on the new alignment.

CA&E 460 is at Fifth Avenue in Maywood on March 6, 1958. This was one of a handful of fantrips that were run after passenger service was abandoned on July 3, 1957. The second car may be 417. This was about as far east as trains could go at this point, as the CA&E’s suspension of service had facilitated construction of what we now know as I290 near the DesPlaines River. The CA&E tracks were relocated slightly north of where they had crossed the river, and were ready for service again in 1959, but by then the railroad had abandoned all service and no trains were run on the new alignment.

A CA&E freight train. Tom writes: "The Unknown CAE with the two freight motors is an Eastbound Freight at Berkeley under the I 294 / Eisenhower Expressway . I grew up a block away from there in Elmhurst."

A CA&E freight train. Tom writes: “The Unknown CAE with the two freight motors is an Eastbound Freight at Berkeley under the I 294 / Eisenhower Expressway . I grew up a block away from there in Elmhurst.”

A pair of curved-sided CA&E cars, headed up by 452.

A pair of curved-sided CA&E cars, headed up by 452.

CA&E 452 at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal in Forest Park, where passengers could transfer to eastbound CTA trains from 1953 to 1957.

CA&E 452 at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal in Forest Park, where passengers could transfer to eastbound CTA trains from 1953 to 1957.

CA&E 432 and 459 on the Met "L" just west of the Loop, prior to the September 20, 1953 cutback in service to Forest Park.

CA&E 432 and 459 on the Met “L” just west of the Loop, prior to the September 20, 1953 cutback in service to Forest Park.

This picture may show CA&E 319 and 320 on a December 7, 1958 fantrip. This was the last passenger operation on the railroad. Freight service continued for a few more months before it too was abandoned.

This picture may show CA&E 319 and 320 on a December 7, 1958 fantrip. This was the last passenger operation on the railroad. Freight service continued for a few more months before it too was abandoned.

CA&E electric locos 2001 and 2002 and train.

CA&E electric locos 2001 and 2002 and train.

Looks like CA&E 458 and (I think) 434.

Looks like CA&E 458 and (I think) 434.

A CA&E freight train on the Mt. Carmel branch. I can't quite make out the loco's number (400x).

A CA&E freight train on the Mt. Carmel branch. I can’t quite make out the loco’s number (400x).

Philadelphia Area

SEPTA car 15 picks up a passenger across from the Media Theater (which is showing the film Taxi Driver) in May 1976.

SEPTA car 15 picks up a passenger across from the Media Theater (which is showing the film Taxi Driver) in May 1976.

A close-up of the previous picture. We are facing east.

A close-up of the previous picture. We are facing east.

SEPTA 19 on the Sharon Hill line in May 1976. Kenneth Achtert adds, "SEPTA 19 on the Sharon Hill line is outbound at Drexel Hill Junction."

SEPTA 19 on the Sharon Hill line in May 1976. Kenneth Achtert adds, “SEPTA 19 on the Sharon Hill line is outbound at Drexel Hill Junction.”

SEPTA double-ended car 15, built in 1949, in May 1976. Not sure whether this is the Media or the Sharon Hill line. Kenneth Achtert: "Car 15 is on the Media line at the east end of the Media street-running, crossing Providence Road about to reach Bowling Green station."

SEPTA double-ended car 15, built in 1949, in May 1976. Not sure whether this is the Media or the Sharon Hill line. Kenneth Achtert: “Car 15 is on the Media line at the east end of the Media street-running, crossing Providence Road about to reach Bowling Green station.”

SEPTA 22 near the 69th Street Terminal in May 1976.

SEPTA 22 near the 69th Street Terminal in May 1976.

SEPTA Brilliner 4, signed as an instruction vehicle, in downtown Media in May 1976. These cars continued in service into the early 1980s, when they were replaced by the current fleet of double-ended Kawasaki LRVs.

SEPTA Brilliner 4, signed as an instruction vehicle, in downtown Media in May 1976. These cars continued in service into the early 1980s, when they were replaced by the current fleet of double-ended Kawasaki LRVs.

A SEPTA Bullet car crosses the Schuylkill River in May 1976.

A SEPTA Bullet car crosses the Schuylkill River in May 1976.

SEPTA "Master Unit" 83 (left) and Brilliner 8 meet at Drexel Hill Junction on August 16, 1981. Kenneth Achtert: "The shot of 83 and 8 at Drexel Hill Junction is on a fantrip, with 83 inbound from Media and 8 on the pocket track."

SEPTA “Master Unit” 83 (left) and Brilliner 8 meet at Drexel Hill Junction on August 16, 1981. Kenneth Achtert: “The shot of 83 and 8 at Drexel Hill Junction is on a fantrip, with 83 inbound from Media and 8 on the pocket track.”

SEPTA Strafford car 160 in May 1976. This looks like the Norrsitown Terminal.

SEPTA Strafford car 160 in May 1976. This looks like the Norrsitown Terminal.

One of the Liberty Liners on the Schuylkill River bridge in May 1976.

One of the Liberty Liners on the Schuylkill River bridge in May 1976.

A berthed Liberty Liner in May 1976.

A berthed Liberty Liner in May 1976.

SEPTA Bullet car 7 (207?) in May 1976. Kenneth Achtert adds, "Bullet car 7 in May 1976 is, in fact, #207. The ten bullets were always numbered 200-209, but carried the single last digit on the roof over the ventilation scoop as an aid for the dispatcher located at Bryn Mawr above the track area. (The tracks were in a cut at that location.) The older cars also carried numbers on the roof, but this practice was discontinued on all but the bullets, no doubt since the bullets had no other number visible from the front."

SEPTA Bullet car 7 (207?) in May 1976. Kenneth Achtert adds, “Bullet car 7 in May 1976 is, in fact, #207. The ten bullets were always numbered 200-209, but carried the single last digit on the roof over the ventilation scoop as an aid for the dispatcher located at Bryn Mawr above the track area. (The tracks were in a cut at that location.) The older cars also carried numbers on the roof, but this practice was discontinued on all but the bullets, no doubt since the bullets had no other number visible from the front.”

SEPTA Brill Master Units 82 and 86 in May 1976. This may be the storage tracks near 69th Street Terminal, which are a short vestige of the old West Chester line. Kenneth Achtert: "82 and 86 are indeed on the storage tracks on West Chester Pike west of 69th St. Terminal."

SEPTA Brill Master Units 82 and 86 in May 1976. This may be the storage tracks near 69th Street Terminal, which are a short vestige of the old West Chester line. Kenneth Achtert: “82 and 86 are indeed on the storage tracks on West Chester Pike west of 69th St. Terminal.”

A "railfan seat" view out the front or back window of a Norristown train on the Schuylkill River bridge in May 1976.

A “railfan seat” view out the front or back window of a Norristown train on the Schuylkill River bridge in May 1976.

A Liberty Liner crosses the Schuylkill River on February 16, 1964, about a month after they were put in service on the Norristown line.

A Liberty Liner crosses the Schuylkill River on February 16, 1964, about a month after they were put in service on the Norristown line.

One of the SEPTA Liberty Liners in February 1972. Kenneth Achtert: "The Liberty Liner in February 1972 appears to be southbound leaving Wynnewood Road."

One of the SEPTA Liberty Liners in February 1972. Kenneth Achtert: “The Liberty Liner in February 1972 appears to be southbound leaving Wynnewood Road.”

Red Arrow car 24 at the 69th Street Terminal in August 1960.

Red Arrow car 24 at the 69th Street Terminal in August 1960.

Red Arrow Bullet car 8 on the Norristown High Speed Line. I'm not sure at what point this car was renumbered to 208. This picture may have been taken shortly after the SEPTA takeover in 1970. Kenneth Achtert: "Bullet car 8 was always 208 (see previous), and the picture was definitely after the SEPTA takeover as evidenced by the blue-backed patches for the logos."

Red Arrow Bullet car 8 on the Norristown High Speed Line. I’m not sure at what point this car was renumbered to 208. This picture may have been taken shortly after the SEPTA takeover in 1970. Kenneth Achtert: “Bullet car 8 was always 208 (see previous), and the picture was definitely after the SEPTA takeover as evidenced by the blue-backed patches for the logos.”

The control cab of one of the two Liberty Liners, as it looked in May 1976, near the end of service.

The control cab of one of the two Liberty Liners, as it looked in May 1976, near the end of service.

The interior of a Liberty Liner in May 1976.

The interior of a Liberty Liner in May 1976.

Bullet car 208 (left) and Strafford car 160 (right) in May 1976. I was fortunate to ride both such cars on this line in 1985.

Bullet car 208 (left) and Strafford car 160 (right) in May 1976. I was fortunate to ride both such cars on this line in 1985.

Red Arrow car 13 in downtown Media in May 1976.

Red Arrow car 13 in downtown Media in May 1976.

A SEPTA Bullet car crosses the Schuylkill River in May 1976.

A SEPTA Bullet car crosses the Schuylkill River in May 1976.

Besides the Brilliners and postwar St. Louis cars, older equipment continued in use on Red Arrow into the early 1980s. Here, we see Brill "Master Unit" 80, built in 1932, in SEPTA colors in May 1976 near the 69th Street Terminal.

Besides the Brilliners and postwar St. Louis cars, older equipment continued in use on Red Arrow into the early 1980s. Here, we see Brill “Master Unit” 80, built in 1932, in SEPTA colors in May 1976 near the 69th Street Terminal.

The next two scenes are from medium format transparancies, which were mounted in oversized mounts as seen here. Standard 35mm slide mounts are 2" x 2", and these are 2.75" x 2.75". I don't know if slide projectors were made that could handle these giants. You wouldn't exactly call these "super slides," since that term refers to size 127 or 828 film (which is larger than 35mm) mounted in 2x2 mounts.

The next two scenes are from medium format transparancies, which were mounted in oversized mounts as seen here. Standard 35mm slide mounts are 2″ x 2″, and these are 2.75″ x 2.75″. I don’t know if slide projectors were made that could handle these giants. You wouldn’t exactly call these “super slides,” since that term refers to size 127 or 828 film (which is larger than 35mm) mounted in 2×2 mounts.

SEPTA Brilliner 5 in February 1971. Kenneth Achtert: "Brilliner #5 in the medium format transparency is just past the Naylor’s Run trestle approaching the Congress Ave. stop."

SEPTA Brilliner 5 in February 1971. Kenneth Achtert: “Brilliner #5 in the medium format transparency is just past the Naylor’s Run trestle approaching the Congress Ave. stop.”

SEPTA Brilliners 9 and 3 meet in February 1971. Kenneth Achtert: "Brilliners 9 and 3 are at Lansdowne Ave. (#9 outbound). The teenagers are students from Monsignor Bonner HS (boys) and Archbishop Prendergast HS (girls), out of view to the left. The schools have since been combined."

SEPTA Brilliners 9 and 3 meet in February 1971. Kenneth Achtert: “Brilliners 9 and 3 are at Lansdowne Ave. (#9 outbound). The teenagers are students from Monsignor Bonner HS (boys) and Archbishop Prendergast HS (girls), out of view to the left. The schools have since been combined.”

A close-up of the previous scene.

A close-up of the previous scene.

Angel’s Flight (Los Angeles)

We have posted several pictures of Angel’s Flight before. To find those, type Angel’s Flight in the search window at the top of this page.

The view looking down the Angel's Flight Railway in August 1966. Nearby buildings had already been torn down as part of the redevelopment of this area, which included leveling part of Bunker Hill.

The view looking down the Angel’s Flight Railway in August 1966. Nearby buildings had already been torn down as part of the redevelopment of this area, which included leveling part of Bunker Hill.

A family rides the Angel's Flight funicular in Los Angeles' Bunker Hill neighborhood in May 1969. Service ended later that year, and Angel's Flight was dismantled and put into storage for many years before being reopened a short distance from here.

A family rides the Angel’s Flight funicular in Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill neighborhood in May 1969. Service ended later that year, and Angel’s Flight was dismantled and put into storage for many years before being reopened a short distance from here.

Angel's Flight, May 1969.

Angel’s Flight, May 1969.

Angel's Flight, May 1969.

Angel’s Flight, May 1969.

Angel's Flight, May 1969.

Angel’s Flight, May 1969.

Mexico City

This, and the three pictures that follow, were taken in Mexico City in May 1957, apparently by a pretty good photographer. Mexico's last remaining streetcar line (Tasqueña–Xochimilco) was converted to light rail in 1986. The PCCs were purchased second-hand from North American properties, including Detroit.

This, and the three pictures that follow, were taken in Mexico City in May 1957, apparently by a pretty good photographer. Mexico’s last remaining streetcar line (Tasqueña–Xochimilco) was converted to light rail in 1986. The PCCs were purchased second-hand from North American properties, including Detroit.

2017 Hoosier Traction Meet

Bill Shapotkin writes:

On September 8th-9th, a group of men and women will converge upon Indianapolis, IN for the annual gathering of the Hoosier Traction Meet. Considered by many to be the premier event of its kind, this conference of interested enthusiasts, historians, published authors and rail and transit professions consists of two complete days of audio/visual presentations on the history, operation and technology of electric railway and transit operations throughout the Midwest. In addition to the numerous auditorium events, there is an exhibition of electric rail and transit, where items of interest from transfers and photographs to fare boxes and operating models are for sale.

This year marks the 34th annual Hoosier Traction Meet. Founded by Dr. Howard Blackburn, the Hoosier Traction Meet features, in addition to its auditorium events and exhibition hall, a opportunity for those interested in electric railway and transit to exchange ideas and swap stories with old acquaintances and meet new friends.

Allow me to take this opportunity to cordially invite each and every one of you to this special event — an event which has been the rail and transit highlight of my year for nearly twenty years.

Click here for a Prospectus.

Note that by mailing in your reservation in advance, the admission price is half that paid at the door — now that’s a bargain in anybody’s book! In addition, there are numerous restaurants and shops nearby, allowing plenty of opportunities to and have lunch or supper with your fellow enthusiasts.

Please consider joining us for this year’s event.

Wm Shapotkin
Auditorium Manager
Hoosier Traction Meet

Chicago Trolleys

Work continues on our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys, which is now in the layout and proofreading stage. Lots of work has been done on the text, and the final selection of photos has been made. We will keep you advised as things progress.

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The Roebuck Stops Here

This 1939 view looks east on Congress from State St.. That's Sears at left. The 'L' station in the foreground is the Old Congress St. stub terminal, and the Congress & Wabash 'L' station is directly behind it. After the Congress stub was no longer needed for rush-hour rapid transit service, the North Shore Line continued to use it as a baggage terminal. (Eric Bronsky Collection)

This 1939 view looks east on Congress from State St.. That’s Sears at left. The ‘L’ station in the foreground is the Old Congress St. stub terminal, and the Congress & Wabash ‘L’ station is directly behind it. After the Congress stub was no longer needed for rush-hour rapid transit service, the North Shore Line continued to use it as a baggage terminal. (Eric Bronsky Collection)

From guest contributor Eric Bronsky:

Sears has been in the news lately. The onetime catalog/mail order champion is fading fast. I was never a fan of Sears, but I was curious to see what this company has brought to the table over the years. One thing led to another and I ended up writing a piece about Sears’ State Street stores (that’s right, there were two Sears flagships in downtown Chicago). I illustrated it with my own photography plus some great historic images from my collection (including the monorail ride in Sears’ toy department).

The file ended up being too big to send as an email attachment, so I posted it online. To view, click on this link:

The Roebuck Stops Here

As a bonus, here are then-and-now photos of Congress Street.

Here's the same view in November, 2015. During the 1950s, Congress St. was rebuilt into an artery feeding the Congress (now Eisenhower or I-290) Expressway. Street widening required cutting through Sears (and other buildings) to build arcaded sidewalks. The Congress & Wabash 'L' station was razed during the '50s and the stub terminal followed in 1964. CTA Green and Orange Line trains currently run on the 'L' visible in the distance. The building which once housed Sears is now Robert Morris Center. CERA meetings are currently held in University Center, the building at right.

Here’s the same view in November, 2015. During the 1950s, Congress St. was rebuilt into an artery feeding the Congress (now Eisenhower or I-290) Expressway. Street widening required cutting through Sears (and other buildings) to build arcaded sidewalks. The Congress & Wabash ‘L’ station was razed during the ’50s and the stub terminal followed in 1964. CTA Green and Orange Line trains currently run on the ‘L’ visible in the distance. The building which once housed Sears is now Robert Morris Center. CERA meetings are currently held in University Center, the building at right.

Several major department stores along State Street once had direct connections to ‘L’ stations on Wabash and subway stations along State. The first downtown Sears established a direct basement-level entrance to the Van Buren & Congress mezzanine of the Jackson & State station in 1943. When that store closed, this station entrance also closed. The basement arcade of the building at 22 W. Madison / 2 N. State (the Boston Store until 1948) had a subway entrance, but the new Sears store never used that entrance and it remained sealed. Macy’s (formerly Marshall Field’s) connection to the State St. subway is the last remaining department store entrance.

Of course, you are welcome to share this with others! You may also print out The Roebuck Stops Here or download it to save on your computer.

— Eric

Selected FSA/OWI Photos, 1935-45

The Library of Congress has uploaded a great many photos taken between 1935 and 1945 by the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information. You can search through their collections here.

We have selected some Chicago-area photos from this archive to share with you. These are mainly the ones that are, in some fashion, transportation related, although I have also included a few that aren’t. I hope that you will enjoy them.

There is not a lot of information provided with each photo, but our readers should be able to figure out most of the locations without too much difficulty. I think the picture showing sidewalks in an area where there aren’t any houses yet may be Westchester, where development started in the late 1920s and was delayed until after the end of World War II by the Great Depression.

The pictures of the “L” are from the south side. You should have no difficulty recognizing the Maxwell Street market, the Stockyards, etc. etc. The train station pictures are from Union Station. One photo shows the Illinois Central electric suburban commuter service, today’s Metra Electric.

I only found a few streetcar pictures in the archive. It may not be possible to determine where some were taken due to the fog.

-David Sadowski

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Finally, here are a few from Milwaukee, circa WWII. I believe these may show the old Milwaukee Electric interurban right-of-way going west of the city, which was known as the “Rapid Transit” line. Portions of this are now taken up by an expressway.

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Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 121st 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 127,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store. You can make a donation there as well.

As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

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New From Trolley Dodger Press:

P1060517

American Streetcar R.P.O.s: 1893-1929

Mainline Railway Post Offices were in use in the United States from 1862 to 1978 (with the final year being operated by boat instead of on rails), but for a much briefer era, cable cars and streetcars were also used for mail handling in the following 15 cities*:

Baltimore
Boston
Brooklyn
Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New York City
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Rochester, New York
St. Louis
San Francisco
Seattle
Washington, D.C.


*As noted by some of our readers, this list does not include interurban RPOs.

Our latest E-book American Streetcar R.P.O.s collects 12 books on this subject (over 1000 pages in all) onto a DVD data disc that can be read on any computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free software. All have been out of print for decades and are hard to find. In addition, there is an introductory essay by David Sadowski.

The rolling stock, routes, operations, and cancellation markings of the various American street railway post office systems are covered in detail. The era of the streetcar R.P.O. was relatively brief, covering 1893 to 1929, but it represented an improvement in mail handling over what came before, and it moved a lot of mail. In many places, it was possible to deposit a letter into a mail slot on a streetcar or cable car and have it delivered across town within a short number of hours.

These operations present a very interesting history, but are not well-known to railfans. We feel they deserve greater scrutiny, and therefore we are donating $1 from each sale of this item to the Mobile Post Office Society, in support of their efforts.

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.95


Attention, Juice Fans!

Ephemera from a 1957 CA&E fantrip organized by the late Maury Klebolt. He later moved to San Francisco and was instrumental in starting the historic trolley operations that continue to this day. (William Barber Collection)

Ephemera from a 1957 CA&E fantrip organized by the late Maury Klebolt. He later moved to San Francisco and was instrumental in starting the historic trolley operations that continue to this day. (William Barber Collection)

Back in the 1930s and 40s, railfans were sometimes referred to as “juice fans,” since they liked electric trains. I suppose this was a derisive term, at first, coined by outsiders to the hobby. But like many such nicknames, it was gradually embraced by the fans, who eventually wore it as a badge of honor. This explains its use in a 1957 flyer advertising a fantrip on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin in its last weeks of passenger operation, reproduced above.

Eventually, the term fell out of favor, and is about as common today as “Oh, you kid” or “23 Skidoo.”

Some months back, William Barber shared with us a picture taken on a 1957 Chicago, Aurora & Elgin fantrip. There was some question about the location, which our readers eventually identified as being on the Batavia branch, in the section between the old power house and the Batavia terminal.

One of the CA&E pictures in our last post Tokens of Our Esteem (January 20th) got Mr. Barber interested in sharing some additional CA&E pictures with us:

This 1955 photo's a bit of a mystery. Could this be Wheaton? William Barber: "Yes, this is Wheaton at the grade crossing immediately east of the depot." The location is Main Street looking east.

This 1955 photo’s a bit of a mystery. Could this be Wheaton? William Barber: “Yes, this is Wheaton at the grade crossing immediately east of the depot.” The location is Main Street looking east.

Main street looking east on Wheaton as it looks today.

Main street looking east on Wheaton as it looks today.

Bill Barber:

Reference this photo from the 01/20/16 Trolley Dodger. Yes, this is Wheaton at the grade crossing immediately east of the depot. Below are several photos that I took around 1959 or 1960. I apologize for the poor quality. The first one was taken from the upper platform of the tower looking east. Note the same building in the background and the the dead end switch leading from the eastbound main just before the next grade crossing. I have also attached some photos that my dad took on a 1957 Illini Railroad Club excursion.

The photos of cars 20 and 459 as well as the other operating equipment were all taken on an Illini Railroad Club fan trip on June 9, 1957. Attached are copies of a portion of the flyer for the trip and our ticket stubs. In the July 2015 issue of the Trolley Dodger, you posted another photo of mine from that same trip showing car no. 20 at a rural grade crossing which I thought was Prince’s Crossing. However, your readers corrected my comment and I think they finally identified it as near the Elgin terminal. (Editor’s note: It was actually identified as being on the Batavia branch, as you will see in the photo captions that follow below.) My other comments with that first post describe the events of that trip fairly well. Here they are again:

“As a 14 year old, I had the pleasure of riding the CA&E with my late father in June 9, 1957 on a Illini Railroad Club fan trip. At that time, the CA&E terminated at the Forest Park loop where our fan trip started. We covered the entire railroad from there to Wheaton, Elgin, Batavia and Aurora. We started with car #459 and would have used it for the entire trip except for a mishap that occurred while we were traveling up the Mt. Carmel Branch along Mannheim.

One of the third rail shoes struck a pile of gravel in the stone quarry and was damaged. We were able to operate to Wheaton with one shoe, but the Railroad decided that we should change cars there. This was a fine turn of events and significantly improved the trip for most of the passengers. Hopefully, someone else will respond who was on the same trip. I would like to hear from them. I am guessing that there were probably 40 people on that trip.”

The other four photos of the railroad at Wheaton after the shut down. Several friends and I drove over to the railroad during 1959 or 1960, from Downers Grove where we lived. At that time, of course, nothing was running, but most of the equipment was still held at the shop.

I just found the ticket stubs and part of the flyer for that trip, copy attached. I have also attached a copy of a flyer from another trip, but I don’t know if it ran or not. If it ran, we did not ride that trip.

 

Yes, the December 7, 1958 fantrip did take place, and was actually the last passenger train to ever run on the CA&E. Wood cars 319 and 320 were operated that day. We have previously posted a picture taken from that wintry day, and will include it in this post as well.

Interestingly, both cars were saved. 319 is at the Illinois Railway Museum, while 320 is in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. 320 had a notable distinction as, I believe, the last car ever to leave the CA&E property in April 1962, just prior to the complete dismantling of the railroad.

As Larry Plachno has written:

A special note must be made of car 320 which assumed some special importance. The car had been sold to the Iowa Railway Historical Museum in Centerville, Iowa. On Friday, April 6, 1962, Jim and Bob Lewis of the Museum and V. Allan Vaughn of the Iowa Chapter of the NRHS were in Wheaton to prepare 320 for movement to Iowa.

That morning was spent oiling journals and motors, removing motor brushes, and boarding up the car for movement. Arrangements had already been made with Walter Schneider, head of the Commercial Metals scrapping operation, for a special movement of this car. At 1:00 P.M. the Commercial Metals EJ&E switcher 212 came up to the car and was coupled up with an adapter coupler. By 1:30, the diesel and car 320 headed down the Aurora branch. By 2:30 P.M. the diesel and car reached the CB&Q interchange at Aurora. After arriving in Aurora, additional work was done on boarding up the windows for the trip west.

On Sunday, a CB&Q switcher pulled 320 to the Eola Yard where it was placed on a flat car for shipment to Centerville, Iowa. Only days later the Commercial Metals locomotive would return to Aurora to start ripping up rail. However, 320 arrived safely in Centerville and began museum operations on June 9 and 10, 1962. Consequently, 320 was the last car to operate over CA&E mainline rail. It was also the first museum car to operate after the abandonment of the CA&E. In all, 12 wooden passenger cars, seven steel passenger cars, one line car, and one flat car were saved. As far as is known, all but one car (320) left Wheaton through a temporary interchange track installed by the C&NW in Wheaton.

 

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 320 on CB&Q flat car 94027 at Eola, Illinois on May 12, 1962. (Chuck Zeiler Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 320 on CB&Q flat car 94027 at Eola, Illinois on May 12, 1962. (Chuck Zeiler Photo)

We thank Mr. Barber for sharing these great pictures with us.

I actually enjoy seeing the ones that have motion blur in them. They remind us that the “Roarin’ Elgin” wasn’t a static or slow-moving affair. It was all about SPEED and these pictures demonstrate that quite well, showing things in motion. I assume that several of these photos have not been published before.

CA&E car 20 is preserved in operable condition at the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin.

-David Sadowski

CA&E ROW at Wheaton Looking East from the gate tower. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E ROW at Wheaton Looking East from the gate tower. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Wheaton Station, which was eventually torn down. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Wheaton Station, which was eventually torn down. (William Barber Collection)

SF108 CA&E Wheaton Station

SF107 CA&E Wheaton Station

Main street looking west in Wheaton, the site of the old CA&E station.

Main street looking west in Wheaton, the site of the old CA&E station.

CA&E Motor 3002 at Wheaton Shops. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Motor 3003 at Wheaton Shops. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Motors 2001, 2002 and 3003 at Wheaton Shops. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Motors 2001, 2002 and 3003 at Wheaton Shops. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Motor 4006 at Wheaton Shops. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Motor 4006 at Wheaton Shops. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Motor no. 7 at Wheaton Shops. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Motor no. 7 at Wheaton Shops. (William Barber Collection)

In a previous post, our readers identified the location of this June 9, 1957 fantrip photo as being on the CA&E Batavia branch, between the power house and the Batavia terminal. This was one of but two sections on this branch that used overhead wire. (William Barber Collection)

In a previous post, our readers identified the location of this June 9, 1957 fantrip photo as being on the CA&E Batavia branch, between the power house and the Batavia terminal. This was one of but two sections on this branch that used overhead wire. (William Barber Collection)

As this enlargement from Roy Benedict's 1957 track map shows, there were but two places on the CA&E Batavia branch under trolley wire. Having eliminated State Road as a possibility, that pretty much decides it as the stretch between the Power House and the end of the line.

As this enlargement from Roy Benedict’s 1957 track map shows, there were but two places on the CA&E Batavia branch under trolley wire. Having eliminated State Road as a possibility, that pretty much decides it as the stretch between the Power House and the end of the line.

CA&E Car no. 459 on the Mannheim Spur, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 459 on the Mannheim Spur, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 20 Elgin, IL Station, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 20 Elgin, IL Station, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 20 meets a 450 series car at Geneva Junction on June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 20 meets a 450 series car at Geneva Junction on June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Motors 4005 & 4006 EJ&E interchange at Wayne, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Motors 4005 & 4006 EJ&E interchange at Wayne, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 459 End of Track 12th St., Hillside, IL, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 459 End of Track 12th St., Hillside, IL, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 20 taken from the EJ&E Bridge, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 20 taken from the EJ&E Bridge, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 20 on the Aurora Branch, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 20 on the Aurora Branch, June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E 459 at Raymond Street in Elgin, June 9, 1957. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

CA&E 459 at Raymond Street in Elgin, June 9, 1957. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The flyer for what became the final passenger movement on the CA&E. Freight service lasted a few months into 1959 before it too was abandoned. Various efforts to revive the interurban failed, and it received government permission for complete abandonment in 1961. (William Barber Collection)

The flyer for what became the final passenger movement on the CA&E. Freight service lasted a few months into 1959 before it too was abandoned. Various efforts to revive the interurban failed, and it received government permission for complete abandonment in 1961. (William Barber Collection)

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

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

Another picture from the December 7, 1958 CA&E fantrip. Here, the snow has started falling and we are at the Elgin end of the line. (Mark LLanuza Collection)

Another picture from the December 7, 1958 CA&E fantrip. Here, the snow has started falling and we are at the Elgin end of the line. (Mark LLanuza Collection)


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 113th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. During our first 365 days of operation, we received 114,587 page views for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store. You can make a donation there as well.

As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

We thank you for your support.

Yesterday was The Trolley Dodger's first birthday, and that's the one that usually gets the most attention from the parents. They make a big fuss over the infant, throw a party, and take lots of pictures. Then, gradually, less and less pictures are taken of the brat and eventually he ends up in reform school. Anyway, we're off to a good start thanks to your help. Let's hope we don't get the "terrible twos."

Yesterday was The Trolley Dodger’s first birthday, and that’s the one that usually gets the most attention from the parents. They make a big fuss over the infant, throw a party, and take lots of pictures. Then, gradually, less and less pictures are taken of the brat and eventually he ends up in reform school. Anyway, we’re off to a good start thanks to your help. Let’s hope we don’t get the “terrible twos.”


Joey Morrow, one of our younger railfans, writes:

It’s the North Shore’s 53/100th anniversary!!!

Happy Birthday NSL, I thank the the world that I learned about the NSL and I think people should take a moment to look a how the railroads shaped America, and how the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad shaped high speed rail operation. 100 years ago the Chicago and Milwaukee electric was renamed into the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad, what it would remain for the last 47 years of service. 53 years ago (in about 2 1/2 hours). The railroad that shaped the awesome interurban era, will be the one to end it. It will ride the rails into heaven right behind her sister, the Chicago Aurora & Elgin, and it will show everyone the power of highways and what they can do to a railroad that shaped an era that could have been the railroads we see today.

Now the NSL shall sadly end what it has started. This railroad tops my list of favorite railroads. I watched the Amtrak HHP-8’s come to an end before I knew about the ACS-64’s. The awful story of Grand Trunk Western 5629 and 5632 scared me, to know the awesome steam power can’t stop a company to get it’s property. They shall join the other lost sister interurban roads that got lost from their southern sister. And the South Shore Line shall carry on the legacy of the interurban. The Iowa electric shall carry on last non-private electric freight operation, with their newest locomotives from 1923, these trains need help, help them. These stories of trains are what shape my life, and the adventure inside my soul to find remains of the NSL. Trains are what fuel me, it pumps steam powered pistons in my heart and turns drive wheels so I can walk. It’s what makes my life as a 13 year old in 7th grade possible. Please everyone, take trains into consideration, if there were no trains, then there will be no America. Trains are big, important, beautiful, behemoths on rails.

 

Thanks, Joey. Keep up the good work. Also keep in mind that, many times, when one door closes, another opens. While for many years there was one electric railway abandonment after another, now it is generally the reverse, with more and more new lines being built all the time.

Joey also asked if anyone can identify what railroad used to run in the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge in New York, on Plymouth Street. He is not sure whether these were freight tracks or streetcar. In the close-up view, you can see an overhead wire support:

image

joey02

So, let’s see if we can help out an aspiring (not expiring) railfan.

Dick Myers replies:

I have a possible answer to the question posed by Joey in your Trolley Dodger blog posting. I posed the question to another email group, and received the following reply:

That’s the Brooklyn Bridge you see in the photos and the tracks may have been those of the B.E.D.T. (Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal) which serviced the piers along the East River Brooklyn waterfront into the 1960s. They had a fleet of 0-4-0T locomotives. Steve Hayes

The Wikipedia article on this railroad indicates they only used steam and diesel locomotives.

 

Thanks, however further research has shown it was not the B. E. D. T. (PS- The 3-CD collection Twilight of Steam, available via our Online Store, has audio recordings on it of steam locomotives on the Brooklyn East District Terminal not long before they switched to diesel in 1963.)

Looks like both Seth (see comments section below) and Bill Wall have the correct answer:

The section of track you are looking at was formerly operated by the Jay Street Connecting RR, abandoned in 1959. It was never electrified. What you see there sticking out from the warehouse is most likely either an awning or some kind of hoist for unloading. Find attached another photo of the area from 1944:


Daniel Joseph has some additional information to share with us regarding off-street bus loops (mostly regarding Evanston):

The #202 and Saturday #203 short turns used Sherman-Davis as a terminal until those routes were discontinued. My memory fails me as to the location of the terminal for the #204.

If my memory is still working correctly, during Sunday Chicago Bears football games at Soldiers Field in the late 1980s, the left northbound lane of Lake Shore Drive south of Balbo was used by southbound #128 Soldiers Field buses. This will need verification.

The southbound contraflow bus lane in the left northbound lane in Lake Shore Drive from Balbo to Soldiers Field for Sunday Bears football games was confirmed by Robert Bourine and David L. Phillips. Unknown how the buses existed this lane.

Also the bus lane at Linden Purple Line is always used for bus replacement shuttles.

Weekday afternoons CTA operated a bus from Skokie Shops south on Crawford/Pulaski to Foster. In the morning a north bound trip may also have been provided.

Sherman & Davis bus bay was confirmed by Robert Bourine and David L. Philips. it was separated from Sherman by an Island with pillars supporting the parking garage.The city of Evanston has a photo.

Skokie Shops bus boarding in the parking lot was confirmed by Walter Keevil and David L. Phillips. In the afternoon it traveled south on Crawford/Pulaski to Foster. Technically this route would accept regular passengers at the parking lot. We cannot determine if a corresponding morning northbound trip existed.

 

Andre Kristopans adds:

It did turn into shop property. Routing at least until the 1970’s was Oakton-Dodge/California-Foster-Pulaski, I gather to make more connections. Also Sherman/Davis turn-in was used by all four Evanston routes until the big rearrangement when 202 and 203 went away and 205/206 started.

 



Model of North Shore Line Milwaukee Terminal

Yesterday, I noticed some interesting photos online in an e-mail distributed by Terrell Colson, posted by Jim Rindt:

There has recently been interest in the Depots by John “Midwest Interurban Terminal” which is, of course,The North Shore Line’s Milwaukee Terminal in HO scale. I built one for a customer a number of years ago but I cannot remember if I ever posted pics of it here or not. So here it is, enjoy!

 

After seeing the pictures of the model, I contacted Jim Rindt and asked if he would let us post them here.

He replied:

Thanks for your note. I would be glad to have you to post the pics of it on your blog. Your blog is one I enjoy.

My website is http://www.rindtsrelics.com and I have several other North Shore items available and soon the Insull Spanish depots in N, HO & O scales. By the Summer I am hoping to have HO kits available for the Dempster, Kenosha and Mundelein.

The Terminal kit came from John Dornfeld of Depots by John.

 

The original North Shore Line terminal in Milwaukee sat vacant for more than a year before it was torn down in the summer of 1964. Another building occupies the site at 6th and Michigan today, with nary a trace of traction heritage to be found. But model-making presents an opportunity to preserve history in another way, one that builds things instead of tearing them down.

That made it especially appealing to me yesterday, the 53rd anniversary of the North Shore Line’s demise. It is no coincidence that this is the same date I picked to launch The Trolley Dodger. I would like January 21st to be associated with new beginnings and not just sad endings.

There is a large North Shore Line sign very much like this one on display at the Illinois Railway Museum, although I do not know for certain whether it actually came from the Milwaukee terminal.

-David Sadowski

IMG_2537 Terminal Front - Side Street View

IMG_2531 Terminal Front Roof & Sign

IMG_2530 Terminal Rear Roof & Sign

IMG_2526 Terminal Rear Passenger Entrance

IMG_2525 Terminal Front Entrance

IMG_2524 Terminal Front Entrance

IMG_2518 Terminal Rear with Platforms

IMG_2517 Terminal Rear Entrance

IMG_2516 Terminal Front - Side Street View

IMG_2510 Terminal Rear Overhead

IMG_2552 Terminal Platforms

Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 11-11-2015

A contemporary view of the former car barn at approximately 5834 North Broadway.

A contemporary view of the former car barn at approximately 5834 North Broadway.

On this Veterans Day we thank all those who have served their country to defend the freedoms that we all hold dear. While we pause to reflect on that, here is some recent correspondence from our readers that we would like to share with you.

John Smatlak writes:

David- love the Trolley Dodger blog, amazing stuff.

Regarding the recent post with all of the carbarns (Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part One, November 3rd), a portion of the Ardmore/Broadway carbarn still stands in 2015. I recently posted a series of images taken in 1985 and 2003 of the building to my Flickr page.

You are welcome to use any of my images on the Trolley Dodger blog.

Keep up the good work!

Interesting pictures. Thanks for sharing them!

I just added three of John’s photos to our previous post Chicago’s Pre-PCCs.


Our recent tribute to Don L. Leistikow generated a lot of responses in various public forums, including the Facebook group Milwaukee Electric Lines:

Don Lenz writes:

Blessings and a peaceful journey for Don.

Reading some quotes attributed to Don in the “Trolley Dodger” today causes one to reflect on the 1950 Speedrail wreck. As I understand it, Speedrail president Jay Maeder, running the lightweight 39-40, allegedly ran a red signal and collided with heavyweight 1192-93 with the loss of 10 lives. The wreck was devastating for Speedrail and personally for Maeder.

The description attributed to Don is of the workings of the “Nachod” signals controlling the line on that day. “Not generally known, is that when a car enters a RED Nachod Block, a count must be entered. Physically, the RED aspect will drop out, a WHITE aspect will appear as the count was recorded. Then the WHITE aspect will drop out and the former RED aspect will return.” This sounds like a complicated system, but suggests that Maeder may have entered the block on a temporary “OK” white aspect, caused by the heavyweight entering the other end of the block. If the incorrect clear signal was caused by the somewhat primitive Nachod signal system, Maeder should have been completely cleared. I have read that he was “acquitted,” but there still seemed to be a cloud.

Jay Maeder particularly interests me as he left Milwaukee for his former home in Avon, Ohio, adjacent to Westlake, Ohio where I live. He brought along Speedrail (TM) 1138 and Birney 1545 – I have not been able to find any evidence remaining of the 1138, while the 1545 seems to be at the Ft. Smith museum.

Scott Greig continues:

This is in follow-up to Don Lenz’s prior post regarding Maeder and the Labor Day wreck. It’s very long, but there’s a lot involved.

The events of September 2, 1950 go far beyond the scapegoated Nachod signals. It’s vital to remember that, on a railroad, signals are not a primary system of control…at least, they’re not meant to be. They don’t work like the traffic signals we see on the street corner.

Primary control on a railroad was via a timetable; next on the list would be an instrument giving special instructions, such as a train order issued by the dispatcher, or a service bulletin issued by the transportation office. Either one will still reflect the needs of the existing timetable, because that special service is being fitted in between existing movements.

Signals basically indicate whether or not it’s safe to proceed, IF you *already* have authority to proceed, conferred by a timetable, train order, bulletin, or the like. If you bring your 1100 into Brookdale Siding, and your timetable requires you to wait there for a meet with an opposing move, or the dispatcher has told you to wait there as he expresses late trains past you, it doesn’t matter how green of a signal you’ve got at the far end of the siding…you sit and wait. You are one link in a chain, as it were, and you have to consider what’s ahead of you and behind you in the chain.

Ed Tennyson, Speedrail’s general manager and a veteran of Pittsburgh Railways operations, understood this. For that day, he had written up a bulletin to be issued to all crews for the day, detailing important things like how many NMRA extras were involved, departure times for the extras, and meeting points with other trains..and emphasizing that any train that fell behind schedule by more than five minutes needed to take the nearest siding and call in for revised orders. This was the kind of practice that TMER&L and its veteran employees would have understood. Maeder instead took back all the bulletins–without telling Tennyson–and instead told the crews to call in from every siding…something that TMER&L’s lineside phone system and dispatching policy were not set up to handle. If the dispatcher needed to hold a train somewhere, they could not contact a train out in the field unless they stopped and called in. There were no “train order boards”, and no way to set a red block in front of a motorman or indicate that he needed to call the dispatcher.

Service began breaking down from the start that morning as a result. Tennyson tried to salvage some order by asking the dispatcher to issue orders at the PSB before departure (in essence restoring his “service bulletin” strategy), but emphasized that any train falling behind schedule by more than five minutes needed to get off the railroad and call the dispatcher for new orders. Being out in the field, though, there wasn’t much he could do to put it into effect…especially with Maeder himself (who had been locking horns with Tennyson from the start of Speedrail) at the controls of one of the NMRA extras.

As it was, Maeder violated his own orders for the day; after leaving Hales Corners, he did not call the dispatcher at Brookdale Siding, Greendale (where he had to wait for a meet), or Oklahoma Avenue…he called from Hales Corners and that was it. At Oklahoma Avenue—the last point where he could have called the dispatcher before West Junction—veteran TMER&L motorman and instructor John Heberling had lined the switch for Maeder to take the siding, as per Maeder’s original orders, but Maeder told Heberling to let him through. After which came the infamous story of Heberling seeing the red signal after Maeder was on his way.

By following only the signal indications, not taking other moves into consideration, and not stopping to communicate with the dispatcher, Maeder was running wild on the railroad…and in the PSC hearings and court trial that followed the Labor Day wreck, he had the temerity to claim, contrary to his own orders that day, that he was not required to call in after leaving Hales Corners. Leroy Equitz, on the other hand, had called the dispatcher from West Junction, as he was supposed to, and had received permission to proceed south…the show must go on, after all, even as the dispatcher was probably grumbling “where the hell ARE those guys??” about Maeder’s train.

Don clued me in to a partial explanation of how the Rapid Transit Line degenerated from a model of Teutonic control to something approaching anarchy on rails. Maeder did not understand the nature of the Rapid Transit’s operations under KMCL/Greyhound…he did not understand that TMER&T was acting as an operational contractor of sorts, and that many of the crewmen operating for KMCL/Greyhound were actually TMER&T employees. Following his acquisition of the line, many of his best crewmen left Speedrail to go back to TMER&T rather than lose their seniority and pension time. He thought he had a cadre of trained operators ready to go, and suddenly had to replace them. Some of the guys that followed (like Don, the late Doug Traxler, and an ex-Pacific Electric motorman) were very good, some were not, and the training they received was…lacking. Perplexed by how this breakdown had happened, and being familiar with railroad rules tests (both from IRM and having seen CNS&M and CRT rules tests of the day), I sent him an email asking how all of this was covered under Speedrail’s rule exam and training. His reply was quite illuminating…and jarring….

“I don’t remember any rules exam on Speedrail. We were out for three days operating 60’s and artic’s. In that process, we were constantly reminded of the location of three-color block signals and the operation of Nachod block signals was thoroughly explained by John Heberling. We even went into the ‘hole’ along the HC line and saw how the signals looked from the opposing end. Telephone booths were pointed out and we used them in the training. Significantly, we did not take written orders over the phone and written orders were not being issued from the PSB.”

One of the post-wreck findings of the Public Service Commission was that Speedrail’s personnel required a revised training program, and that the system of rules on file with the PSC (TMER&L’s rules) should be used. That made no sense when I first read it… after receiving Don’s comments, a lot of things regarding the breakdown of operations on Speedrail fell into place.

It’s been many years since I spoke directly with Don; in the time since, I had the chance to meet the late Ed Tennyson and spend about an hour getting his perspective on Speedrail, especially on the events of that day. I also became a transit employee, and got to see up close how mass-transit-oriented rail functions. I wish that I could have had the chance to talk to Don again, having those perspectives, and discuss further the events of that day.

FYI, there is also a Yahoo Group for the Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society that you might want to check out.

The aforementioned Facebook group also has some additional recollections of Don, including this photo of him in Speedrail days.

Interestingly, it looks as though Jay Maeder, Jr. (1947-2014) was the last writer for the comic strip Annie, which was an updating of Little Orphan Annie.


Joey Morrow writes:

I just recently saw on google earth that CTA is renovating their Wilson station. The old freight track has been demolished and there are only 3 tracks instead of 4. I was just curious how long the freight viaduct has been demolished.

My Mom told me she remembers the old viaduct, “I never thought much of it”, my Mom used to take the red line from Addison, change to purple at Howard, and get off at Davis, Noyes, or Central. She remembers how old the Red Line stops were and the wood planks they used. She told me when we were at the IRM at the “L” station, she always hated the ‘4 door cars’, the 2200 and 5-50 series cars. I was just curious about this viaduct.

wilson

I would guess the lower level freight tracks were removed around 1975 judging from this article.

Freight service on the CTA ended in 1973. Truman College opened its campus adjacent to the CTA at Wilson Avenue in 1976.

Thanks.

Joey Morrow continues:

I have also found a large remnant of the North Shore’s Upton Jct. On Rockford ave. there are many power poles, and one pole is not like the others.

It has 2 metal points jutting out on opposite sides, Instead of just 1 point jutting out on one side. I decided to do a full search using google maps/earth to find remnants. I found millions of cement blocks where power lines held up the over head wire on the Skokie line. I also may have found a platform next to the old Briargate station, I think the drive way is a platform. I’d love to check it out or even bike the entire Robert McClory bike path from Chicago to Milwaukee, but it’s kind of hard when you live in Massachusetts. I’m checking out the Shore Line and may have found a few cement blocks.

(Facing west toward Mundelein, near Green Bay Jct.)

(Facing west toward Mundelein, near Green Bay Jct.)

Great work, thanks! I think it’s important to encourage Joey and other young railfans, who represent the future of our hobby.

-David Sadowski

In the meantime, thank you for all those cards and letters!


Shore Line Dispatch #6

FYI, Shore Line Interurban Historical Society has announced the impending release of their sixth Dispatch, Chicago Surface Lines: The Big 5 Routes and 5 Others, by Richard F. Begley, George F. Kanary, and Walter R. Keevil. We are certain that this 100 page book will be an excellent and thoroughly researched addition to the Chicago streetcar canon, and one to really look forward to.

You can find more information about this publication here.

I would be remiss if I did not point out that Trolley Dodger Press is not affiliated with the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society.