CA&E 410 (plus one), westbound at Fifth Avenue in Maywood.
A friend recently gave me a stack of Chicago Aurora & Elgin slides, which make up the bulk of today’s post. Some we have run before, but I don’t think too many of you will mind seeing them again, this time from a different source. Others, you haven’t seen.
Scanning an image is just a starting point in this whole process. Mostly, these were dupe slides made using Kodachrome, which is not what commercial labs used for this purpose. A regular lab would have used special low-contrast Ektachrome duplicating film.
Contrast is your enemy when copying things film-to-film, and Kodachrome is contrasty– great for original slides, not as good for dupes. So these were likely homemade dupes, and a lot of them were not color-corrected. I spent a great deal of time working these over in Photoshop, but in some cases, imperfections remain.
I don’t think there is a single image that I didn’t try to improve in some way, and I included a few of the original scans, just to show you how some of them looked before corrections were applied.
As always, if you have location information, or other factual tidbits to share, don’t hesitate to either leave a Comment on this post, or drop us a line at:
PS- Each image has a unique number. When referring to individual images, please use the image name/number, i.e. pict763. To find this, hover your mouse over the image.
CA&E 456 on a snowy Chicago day. I’m wondering if this is Wells Street Terminal.
A CA&E train headed up by one of the ex-North Shore Line woods that CA&E purchased in 1946. This one could be car 141. The train is heading west, crossing over Union Station.
A six-car CA&E train at the Halsted curve.
CA&E 428 plus one at Pulaski Road on the Garfield Park “L”.
A classic view of the CA&E in Elgin, with a beautiful reflection from the Fox River. A sign advertises the Rialto Theatre, which burned down in 1956. The fiim being advertised, The Big Sky starring Kirk Douglas, was released in August 1952, which is most likely when this picture was taken. George Foelschow adds: “Four cars at the Elgin terminal. This must be a fantrip, as single cars were the rule on the Elgin branch, except for weekday rush hours and Sunday afternoons for visitors to the Elgin State Hospital.”
310 on a fantrip on the Mt. Carmel branch. I believe the date was 1955.
A westbound CA&E train crossing over the C&NW/PRR at Rockwell, shortly before sundown.
CA&E 426 near West Chicago, on its way to the Aurora terminal. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo)
A CA&E train crossing over Route 83 in 1955. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo)
CA&E 403 at the Wheaton station. (Steven P. Hyett Photo)
CA&E 415 at Wheaton Yard, in War Bond livery (probably during the Korean War). (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)
CA&E 20 at Wheaton Yard. This car is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)
CA&E bus 101 at Wheaton Yard. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)
CA&E loco 2001 in Maywood. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)
CA&E 427 at the Aurora Terminal. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)
CA&E 421 at the Wheaton station. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)
A CA&E train at the Sacramento curve on the Garfield Park “L”. You can see that construction is already underway at left on a ramp that will connect with the temporary trackage in Van Buren Street, which was used from 1953-58 (but not by the interurban, which cut back service to Forest Park). The area to the right of the ramp is where the new Congress Expressway was to be built. This picture was probably taken circa 1952. George Foelschow: ” The view is looking northeast, presumably from the Sacramento station platform, not southeast.”
This looks to be the same train as in the previous picture, taken a few seconds later. CA&E 460 is at the head of a westbound Aurora-Batavia Limited.
CA&E 414 is at the head of a westbound Aurora-Batavia Limited train at one of the west side Garfield Park “L” stations. This and the next few pictures were all taken at this same location, a station near a curve. The consensus is this is the Kedzie station, which was near a curve. CA&E trains stopped there, which would have given the photographer more time to get a shot of each car. We are looking east, and the Sacramento curve is in the distance about two blocks away.
CA&E wood car 34 heads up this westbound train.
CA&E 318 is at the front of a three-car westbound train.
Two “Roarin’ Elgin” trains pass on the Garfield Park “L”. Cliff W. says we are “looking east from Pulaski with the single crossover just east of the station visible.”
CA&E 457 heads a westbound train at Kilbourn.
CA&E 458 heads westbound at Laramie, along with two other curved-sided cars, all built in 1945 by St. Louis Car Company.
CA&E 459. George Foelschow: “This is the Collingbourne flag stop on a banked curve on the Elgin branch, presumably on a fantrip.”
CA&E 459 at Raymond Street in Elgin, June 9, 1957.
CA&E 451. Mike Schattl: “The location is the bridge over the CNW in Wheaton.”
CA&E 423 (plus one) head east towards Chicago, while a freight is on a nearby spur line. Bill Shaptokin says this and the next two pictures are “at Renwick — interchange with the MILW south of Elgin.”
CA&E 3003 and 3004 hauling freight.
CA&E 3003 and 3004 hauling freight.
3003 and 3004 again, with a fairly substantial (for the CA&E) freight train.
CA&E 421. Bill Shapotkin says this is “Dunham Rd on the Elgin Branch. The car is E/B.”
The same picture as it looked before color restoration in Photoshop.
A single CA&E car on a single-track right of way, which could mean the Aurora, Batavia, or Elgin branches west of Wheaton.
A single car near the Fox River. Bill Shapotkin: “This pic is in Batavia (NOT Aurora). Shot is between Batavia Station and Glenwood Park.” On the other hand, George Foelschow writes, “This is most assuredly on the south side of Elgin, near the point of changeover between trolley and third rail. Not for nothing is Elgin, my hometown, called “The Bluff City”, also the name of the municipal cemetery, served at one time by Grove Avenue streetcars.”
Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “This slide was identified by someone in a Wheaton FB group as being taken in 1952 at Jewell Road in Wheaton. Another person in the group said he believed it was looking south. He thinks that is Electric Avenue on the right or west.”
CA&E cars at Lockwood Yard, including 48 and 314. Cliff W.: “In the wide shot there are Met cars in the right background. This is the south storage track with Flournoy in the foreground.”
CA&E 48 at Lockwood Yard.
CA&E 314 at Lockwood Yard.
This picture may possibly have been taken just west of Laramie.
CA&E 459 and 452 are part of an eastbound train somewhere in either Oak Park or Forest Park, where the B&OCT ran parallel to the interurban.
Here, we are looking west along the CA&E right-of-way at possibly Central or Austin. In the rear, you can see a large gas holder in nearby Forest Park. Andre Kristopans: “Photo on ground level with middle track is at Gunderson station. Middle track was so CAE could pass L trains. Abandoned after Westchester L’s were dropped in 1951.” Gunderson is a short distance west of Ridgeland. The street was named after the developer who first built homes in this area. The new (early 1900s) development explains why there was a rapid transit stop on a sidestreet. When the CTA rebuilt this line in the late 1950s, they chose not to put a stop at either Gunderson or Ridgeland. Instead, auxilliary entrances were added to the Oak Park and Austin stops, at East Avenue and Lombard, respectively.
Westbound CA&E car 428 crosses the B&OCT in Forest Park. This was also where the Chicago Great Western, now long abandoned, branched off.
The same location as the previous picture, with the iconic gas holder visible. The crossing was located between Harlem and DesPlaines, at approximately the same location where there is now a flyover eliminating this bottleneck.
I believe this is DesPlaines Avenue, and we are looking west. This picture was taken before the station was reconfigured in 1953. At this time, the station was located on the east side of DesPlaines, behind the photographer. The Acme Feeds towers, located at 7715 W. Van Buren are visible at right. These towers caught fire in 1980 and were demolished.
CA&E 418 is westbound approaching the DesPlaines River, passing by Concordia Cemetery.
CA&E 454 is westbound, about to cross First Avenue in Maywood.
CA&E 429 heads east near Commonwealth Edison just west of the DesPlaines River. Meanwhile, 452 heads west.
One of the St. Louis-built 1945 cars (454?) crosses First Avenue in Maywood, heading east. We are looking north. There was a Refiner’s Pride gas station located between the CA&E and Chicago Great Western tracks, on the west side of First.
A westbound six-car train of CA&E woods stops at Glen Oak. Bill Shapotkin: “Yes, this IS Glen Oak. If you look hard enough, you can see the house I grew up in (at right in the distance).”
CA&E 310 on a fantrip at Glen Oak.
CA&E 422 and 434 at Wheaton station.
Not sure where this curved-sided CA&E car is. Cliff W.: “The single Saint Louis car going over the bridge is passing over Liberty Street in Wheaton directly north of the shops and approaching the bridge over the C&NW on the Elgin branch. If you look very closely at the far right of the picture you can see a CA&E car sitting in the yard.” Bill Shapotkin: “This car is x/o Liberty Drive in Wheaton (on the Elgin Branch): (View looks E/B on Liberty).”
CA&E 454 is westbound at the bridge over Winfield Creek (on the Elgin branch near Lincoln Avenue).
A CA&E train passes a two-car train of CTA Met “L” cars at the Halsted Curve.
The CA&E’s Lockwood Yard, also known as “The Orchard,” was a small storage area just west of Laramie. This view is looking northwest across the main line.
CA&E 52 pilots a three-car train of woods on the old Met main line near Racine. You can see the new (in 1953) ramp at left, heading down to the Van Buren Street temporary trackage, which would shortly be put into use. It connected with the “L” structure at Aberdeen. Expressway construction is underway at right.
Much the same location as the previous picture, but perhaps a year earlier in 1952, as construction of the ramp has just started. This was very late in the afternoon, and it was difficult to correct for the yellowish-reddish late afternoon light. But don’t forget, they called it the “Sunset Lines” for a reason!
Racine station on the old Met main line, with the Throop Street Shops in the background. This picture was taken sometime between 1950 and 1953, as there are some “flat door” 6000s present (along with Met car 2880).
Throop Street Shops in its last days (1953)
CA&E 404 eastbound at Marshfield Junction, where three different Met lines (Douglas, Garfield, Logan Square/Humboldt Park) came together. Note the CA&E-only platform at right.
A train of CA&E woods, headed up by 302, goes up the ramp to cross over the C&NW/PRR right-of-way at Rockwell. The “L” was raised up when the line it crossed was elevated onto an embankment. That explains why there are brick bases for some of the “L” support columns.
The CA&E crossing the C&NW/PRR at Rockwell.
Not sure of this location. Cliff W. says this we are “at Prince Crossing on the Elgin branch looking west.” Bill Shapotkin: “View looks N/W.”
CA&E 454 is eastbound at Jewell Road in Wheaton on the Elgin branch.
A line-up of cars at Wheaton Yard.
From left to right: 430, 315, 425, and 310 at Wheaton Yard.
Some ex-North Shore Line woods are in dead storage at the west end of Wheaton Yard, circa 1954, shortly to be scrapped.
Cars 435 and 436, possibly in dead storage at the same location as the previous picture, circa 1953-57 when the CA&E no longer needed so many cars.
CA&E electric locos 2002, 2001, 3003 and 3004 in Wheaton.
CA&E 310 on the west side of Mannheim Road near Roosevelt. The occasion was a fantrip.
According to what’s written on this slide, CA&E locos 4004 and 4005 are in North Aurora in August 1952. On the other hand, Bill Shapotkin writes: “This pic is Aurora Ave on the Aurora Branch.”
The same picture before color restoration in Photoshop.
CA&E 310 in 1955 on the Mt. Carmel branch on a fantrip.
CA&E 310 on the same fantrip as the previous picture.
The previous picture as it appeared before color restoration.
The 310 running along the west side of Mannheim near Roosevelt Road.
CA&E 406 in fantrip service at State Road on the Batavia branch. Due to the width of the crossing, trains switched from third rail to overhead wire at this location.
CA&E 406 and 418 at the end of the line in Aurora.
Locos 2001, 2002 and train.
CA&E 453 is eastbound at Batavia Junction as a Chicago Local.
CA&E 458 eastbound at Warrenville.
Hundreds attempt to board the special train at Clark and Lake.
Steve DeRose writes:
You have managed to get me in one of your photographs of the 4000s at Clark and Lake (see above).
Here is the shot I got from that image. I did not get a poster. If I had, I would have folded it flat to fit it in my satchel (which you can glimpse hanging from my left shoulder).
I did not ride the 4000s this day. I did ride the 2400s. Most of my photographs (and videos) were shot on the Inner Loop @ Quincy and Wells.
Also, after having a late lunch at Mr. Beef On Orleans, I was walking to the Chicago Brown Line “L” station and espied the 4000s deadheading back to Skokie Shops.
My images are Creative Commons – Noncommercial – Allow Derivative Works – Share Alike. I’m not a copyright czar.
-Steve De Rose 8=)}
My picture originally ran in our post Chicago’s “L” Turns 125 (June 7, 2017). I guess, by looking at your picture, that you are the guy in gray, kneeling behind the person with the white shirt.
Thanks for sharing these pictures with our readers. FYI, the CTA is still selling those same posters through their gift shop, so you still have a chance to get one.
New CD Releases
We are fortunate this time to have two new traction titles to go along with a new steam release:
DC Transit, 1959
# of Discs – 1
DC Transit, 1959
Streetcars have now returned to Washington, D.C., but this vintage 1959 hi-fi recording reminds us of the system we once had. This excellent quality recording documents both PCCs and historic car 766 in action, with both trackside sounds and a night ride over private right-of-way to Cabin John. Capital Transit became DC Transit in 1955.
Total time – 49:47
Sacramento Northern Electrics
# of Discs – 1
Sacramento Northern Electrics
The Sacramento Northern Railway (reporting mark SN) was a 183-mile (295 km) electric interurban railway that connected Chico in northern California with Oakland via the California capital, Sacramento. It ran directly on the streets of Oakland, Sacramento, Yuba City, Chico, and Woodland and ran passenger service until 1941 and freight service into the 1960s. Electric operation ceased in 1965.
These recordings, which make up the bulk of this CD, were made on the SN in 1962, and feature both trolley freight operations, mainly in city streets, plus fantrips using passenger combine 1005, which had been saved for use as a maintenance-of-way car. A very rare recording!
We hear the distinctive sounds of the Big Red Cars in their final days of operation on the 20-mile LA to Long Beach line in 1961. Who could have known that, 30 years later, this same line would be reincarnated as “light rail,” running in almost the same exact right-of-way? Pacific Electric may be long gone, but it is certainly not forgotten!
Total time – 49:11
Sacramento Northern Maintenance of Way car 302 at Mallard, California on November 29, 1953 on a Bay Area Electric Railroad Association fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos says, “1020 was built by Hall-Scott Motor Car Co in 1913, as OA&E 1020. It became SF-S 1020 in 1920 and SN 1020 in 1928. It was renumbered as MW302 in 1941 and went to Western Railway Museum in 1962.” (William R. Smith Photo)
Norfolk & Western
Virginia Blue Ridge
# of Discs – 1
Norfolk & Western
The bulk of this record documents the final days of steam power on the Norfolk and Western in 1959, both freight operations and the final fantrip with the famous J-611 that truly signaled the end of an era. Except for the occasional fantrip now with the 611, steam may be long gone from the N&W, but it certainly went out in great style, as you will hear on these classic recordings.
The N&W did not even begin the transition to diesel until 1955, being the most notable proponent of steam in the 1950s.
Virginia Blue Ridge
The Virginia Blue Ridge Railway (reporting mark, VBR) was a small, historic short line system tucked away near the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Because of this, as well as the road’s secluded nature, it received little coverage and often went unnoticed by rail enthusiasts. However, the VBR offered all the things which made short lines fascinating; friendly service, a leisurely schedule, and small power. It also gained recognition for utilizing steam locomotives into the early 1960s. When first conceived the VBR was envisioned as a logging/timber operation. However, this traffic was short-lived and after nearly going under the railroad returned to prosperity beginning in the 1930s by hauling other natural resources. As the years passed, the VBR’s customer base dwindled and service was eventually discontinued in 1980. The recordings heard here were made in 1959.
Total time – 54:11
Pre-Order Our New Book 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.)
We are pleased to report that our new book Chicago Trolleys will be released on September 25th by Arcadia Publishing. You can pre-order an autographed copy through us today (see below). Chicago Trolleys will also be available wherever Arcadia books are sold.
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 226 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
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. Shipping within the US is included in the price. Shipping to Canada is just $5 additional, or $10 elsewhere.
Please note that Illinois residents must pay 10.00% sales tax on their purchases.
We appreciate your business!
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NEW – Chicago Trolleys Postcard Collection
We are pleased to report that selected images from our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys will be available on September 25th 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.
Pre-Order your Chicago Trolleys Postcard Pack today!
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Help Support The Trolley Dodger
This is our 192nd 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 314,000 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.
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NSL 420 heading south at Dempster, current end of the line for the CTA Yellow Line (aka the “Skokie Swift”), which revived a small portion of the old interurban a year after service ended in January 1963.
The Trolley Dodger blog has reached another milestone with this, our 150th post since we started on January 21, 2015. As time goes on, it becomes both easier and harder to come up with new ideas. On the one hand, we have to work harder to avoid repeating ourselves, since we have already posted thousands of images to date.
On the other hand, there always seems to be more material out there to be had. So in that sense, it seems unlikely that we will ever run out of new material. However, it’s always good to remind our faithful readers that all this historical research costs real money. It costs nothing to read our blog, of course, but the quality and frequency of future posts is entirely dependent on the financial support we get from you.
We are committed to maintaining a very high quality standard in what we put out, and our goal is not only to share information, but to create something of lasting value. We will let others be the judge of whether or not we have succeeded to date, but it’s interesting to note that I often find my own posts coming up to the top of Google searches, when I am researching things.
What makes a good blog post? Well, as I have said before, in general my idea is to use pictures to tell a story. But beyond that, it becomes more difficult to put your finger on what works and what doesn’t.
I would liken it to being a chef in a restaurant who takes whatever fresh ingredients are on hand, and tries to whip them up into a tasty dish. Since our first post featured the North Shore Line, we have a generous helping of classic CNS&M images on today’s menu.
In addition, we have a sprinkling of Chicago, Aurora & Elgin photos, plus some other Chicago/Illinois material, since that is where we are from. Hopefully, all this adds up to a complete “meal,” a feast for the eyes that is also designed to make you think.
But we have not forgotten “dessert.” Our last post (More Mystery Photos, July 29, 2016) included a picture of what appeared to be a Birney car that was not, according to Frank Hicks, an actual Birney. (If anyone is interested in learning what attributes of a streetcar make it into a “true” Birney, look no further than Dr. Harold E. Cox’s book on just that subject. What constitutes a PCC car is also somewhat debatable, another area where the esteemed Dr. Cox has weighed in with an expert opinion.)
While Birney cars, due to their small size, were unsuccessful in larger cities like Chicago, there can be no doubt they were a great success in Fort Collins, Colorado, the “Birney-est” place of all. The Fort Collins Municipal Railway purchased nine such cars for use between 1919 and 1951, a couple for parts. Of these, there’s been a pretty good survival rate, with fully five cars (#s 20, 21, 22, second 25, and 26) still extant.
These cars were so beloved in the area that they never completely left, and efforts to restore a car and revive at least a small portion of service began as early as the 1970s. Service on a mile-and-a-half line began in 1984 and continue to this day, meaning that the resurrected Birney car service in Fort Collins has lasted 32 years now, the same length of time that the original service ran.
The last regular operation of Birney cars in the U. S. was in Fort Collins, CO. The line was originally built by the Denver & Interurban Ry in 1907. In July 1918, the D&I stopped operating the local lines. A bus system was tried, but was very unpopular. In January 1919, the voters, by an 8 to 1 majority, decided to take over the system. Four Birneys were purchased from American Car of St. Louis and began operation in May. Over the years additional cars were added and replaced. Finally, in 1951, the system was abandoned on June 30th. The city had grown beyond the car lines, and riders had gone to the automobile. Car 21 was preserved locally. Other cars were saved at other locations. A local group began to restore 21 in 1977, and operation began on Mountain Avenue on December 29, 1984. Over the next two years, 1.5 miles of track was restored for operation. For a complete story about this system, check out their web site.
But wait, there’s more! There was also a double-truck version of the Birney, so we have posted a couple pictures of Johnstown 311, a much-loved car by the fans who took it on many trips back in the day. It ran in service in Pennsylvania until 1960 and has been preserved at the Rockhill Trolley Museum.
We are featuring color photos today, and will have several new black-and-white images to share in the near future. Thanks for coming along for the ride.
PS- If you can help identify any of missing locations, or have other interesting thoughts on these pictures, don’t hesitate to drop us a line, either as a Comment here, or via:
Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee (aka North Shore Line)
NSL 706 heads south from Dempster in this June 9, 1961 photo by Clark Frazier. This is the current terminal of the CTA Yellow Line. The area under the electrical tower at left is where the “pocket” track went, when this was the end-of-the-line for the CRT’s Niles Center Branch. This local service ended in 1948. CTA “L” service resumed here in 1964.
A solitary North Shore Line car crosses the Chicago River at Wacker Drive on the “L”.
NSL 739 and train at Lake Bluff.
NSL 737 at the Loyola curve on the CTA.
NSL 713 heads up a five-car train at Sedgwick in October 1958.
NSL 737 and head “at speed” near Sheridan Elms in Lake Forest.
NSL 735 et al at North Chicago.
“Silverliner” 756 and train in Skokie.
A southbound Electroliner at Edison Court.
NSL 182 and train at St. Mary’s Road (Thornbury Village) on the Mundelein branch on May 31, 1962. Notice the difference in right-of-way construction here, versus the main line.
NSL 743 and train at Green Bay Junction. Jerry Wiatrowski: “NSL 743 and train are on the Skokie Valley route westbound crossing the Mundelein branch at Lake Bluff. The Green Bay Road overpass can be seen in the background.” Joey Morrow: “NSL 743 is at Green Bay junction, the catenary poles are still there today. It parallels IL-176 (Rockland Ave).”
NSL “Greenliner” 751 and a Silverliner at Lake Bluff in June 1962.
A photo run-by on a February 21, 1960 North Shore Line fantrip.
I don’t know just when this picture of a North Shore Line “special” train was taken, but Gustafson Motors was located in Libertyville, along the Mundelein branch. FYI, we have several North Shore Line audio recordings available on compact disc in our Online Store, including some from the Mundelein branch. Garrett Patterson: “nsl003 would have been taken just weeks before the end of service system-wide. The 1962 Bel Air in the lot dates the photo.” One of our regular readers adds: “This was the CERA fantrip that was operated in April 1962. George Krambles operated the train in Evanston, and there are movies and slides of the train going south from Isabella going up the hill to the North Shore Channel bridge. The scene is seen in The Tribute to the North Shore Line video, which has been presented at January CERA meetings (although it is not commercially available). Of course the above photo is at Libertyville (which was a beautiful place in the country at one time).”
NSL 705 and 709 are near the Mundelein terminal on March 25, 1962.
Chicago, Aurora & Elgin
CA&E 460 and an older car are in fantrip service during the late 1950s. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp writes: “This is at West Street looking west in Wheaton. The bridge over Liberty Drive at the start of the Elgin branch is seen in the background.”
CA&E 452 at Geneva Road on March 9, 1957. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “This is in Winfield. I believe looking north.”
CA&E 404 is part of a two-car train at the Halsted curve on the old Garfield Park “L”, probably not long before the end of downtown service in September 1953.
CA&E 423 is part of a two-car train at Collingbourne. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “Collingbourne is along the Elgin branch near Raymond St. and Elgin Ave.”
One can only wish that the photographer had aimed the camera a bit lower, but nonetheless, CA&E 428 is part of a four-car train in July 1953 on the Halsted curve.
CA&E 454 at an unidentified location. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “This slide was identified by someone in a Wheaton FB group as being taken in 1952 at Jewell Road in Wheaton. Another person in the group said he believed it was looking south. He thinks that is Electric Avenue on the right or west.”
CA&E work motors 2001 and 2002 in service in March 1959. By this time, it had been nearly two years since the end of passenger service. Freight only continued for a few more months after this. (B. J. Misek Photo)
We are not sure of the location where this picture of CA&E 403 was taken. Presumably, the box the conductor is carrying holds work-related materials. George Foelschow: “I believe CA&E Pullman 403 and unattached car 410 or 419 are on the eastbound track at Wheaton station. Presumably the two cars, one each from Aurora and Elgin, will be joined for the trip east, and the conductor of 403 would be redundant and no doubt be on the next Fox Valley train due in a few minutes to be split. One could travel between Elgin and Aurora in the same time as a City Lines bus taking a more direct route along the Fox River.” Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “I agree. Definitely at Wheaton station.”
CA&E 420 at Church Road (Aurora).
CA&E 424 near the end of the line, along the Fox River in Elgin. Meister Brau was a well-known Chicago beer for many years. Each spring, they would sell “Bock” beer, a stronger concoction made (I think) by scraping the bottom of the barrel. They introduced Meister Brau Lite in 1967. After Meister Brau got into financial difficulty in 1972, their brands were bought by Miller, who used Meister Brau Lite as the basis for developing Miller Lite.
CA&E 405 is part of a two-car train. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “This is identified by Mark Llanuza as being taken in 1956 between the College Ave station in Wheaton and Glen Ellyn. Photographer unknown.”
CA&E 317 is part of a four-car train of woods.
Chicago and Illinois
Indiana Railroad hi-speed lightweight interurban car 65 at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago in October 1956. It had last run in 1953 on the CRANDIC (Cedar Rapids and Iowa City) before being purchased by the museum as their first acquisition. That’s Chicago & Milwaukee Electric 354, another early purchase, behind it.
Illinois Terminal double-end PCC 457 is part of a two-car train, northbound at 19th and State in the mid-1950s. Don’s Rail Photos says, “457 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1949, #1672. It was sold for scrap to Biermann Iron & Metal Co on July 24, 1959, and was scrapped in 1964.”
The same location today.
In this undated photo, probably taken circa 1952, tracks are being laid in the southern half of Van Buren Street to create a temporary right-of-way for the Garfield Park “L”, to allow the demolition of 2 1/2 miles of the old structure that were in the way of Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway construction. At right, you can see the old Throop Street Shops. This temporary alignment was used from September 1953 to June 1958.
A two-car train of CTA 4000s heads west on temporary trackage at Van Buren and Western on July 1, 1956. This was just two weeks after streetcar service ended on Western Avenue. This picture was taken around the time that the sounds of 4000-series “L” cars were recorded on the Garfield Park “L” for Railroad Record Club LP #36, which has been digitally remastered and is now available on compact disc in our Online Store.
Western and Van Buren today, looking to the northeast.
Since CTA PCC 4406 is signed for charter service, this picture was probably taken on October 21, 1956, when this car ran on a fantrip with red Pullman 225. We have run photos from that fantrip before. You can see one in our post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Six (February 22, 2016). Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me can tell which station (car barn) this is, whether Devon or 77th. Car 4406 lasted until the end of Chicago streetcar service and had a scrap date of June 23, 1959.
A two car train of Lake Street “L” cars crosses the Chicago River with the Merchandise Mart in the background, probably in the early 1950s.
CSL/CTA Y303 is listed as a “baggage car,” although some have called it a MoW or maintenance of way car. It was retired on September 27, 1956. Don’s Rail Photos says, “Y303. baggage car, was built by C&ST in 1911 as 59. It was renumbered Y303 in 1913 and became CSL Y303 in 1914.”
This 1920s-era Chicago Surface Lines trailer was looking pretty shopworn by the 1950s, when this picture was taken at South Shops.
CSL/CTA streetcar 1497 was renumbered as AA85 for work service as a salt spreader, the configuration we see it in here in this 1950s photo. It was scrapped on September 27, 1956. This was known as a “Bowling Alley” car. Don’s Rail Photos: “1497 was built by CUTCo in 1900 as CUT 4546. It was rebuilt as 1497 in 1911 and became CSL 1497 in 1914. It was rebuilt as salt car and renumbered AA85 on April 15, 1948.”
According to Graham Garfield’s excellent web site www.chicago-l.org, “CTA work car S-328 — built by American Car & Foundry in 1907 as Northwestern Elevated trailer 1283, motorized and renumbered to 1792 in 1914 by the CER — was converted for work service and renumbered in 1958.” It was retired in August 1970 and scrapped. Wooden “L” cars were last used in regular service by the CTA in 1957. After spending their final days in work service, cars like these were replaced by retired 4000-series “L” cars. Here we see S-328 at DesPlaines Avenue terminal in June 1962. (George Niles Photo)
In this June 1962 view. we see the CTA’s DesPlaines Avenue terminal as it had been reconfigured in 1959. these very basic amenities continued n use until the station was rebuilt in the 1980s. I would assume that the pile of rubble in the foreground was related to the recent construction of a new maintenance facility here. The nearby expressway had been in operation since 1960. Presumably, the CTA bus is running route 17, which replaced the Westchester “L” branch in 1951. (George Niles Photo)
A pair of old Metropolitan “L” cars, now in work service, share space with CTA curved-door 6000s in this June 1962 view at DesPlaines Avenue. The new shops facility is at left. The large gas holder at right was a Forest Park landmark for many years. (George Niles Photo)
Authentic Birney Cars
This circa 1940 postcard shows the Ft. Collins Birneys in a different paint scheme, which is actually the one currently being used for the one operating car. Caption: “The intersection of College and Mountain Avenues is the 42nd and Broadway of Ft. Collins. It is the heart of the business district, the crossroads of the town. Where all street cars meet and all highways converge.”
Car 26 in the Fort Collins car barn in June 1948.
Fort Collins Municipal Railway Birney car 22 in the city park on April 30, 1947.
25 in reverse rush hour loop service downtown in October 1950.
21 near Colorado State University in late June 1951.
25 in southeast Fort Collins in October 1950.
21 downtown in June 1948.
25 in reverse rush hour loop service downtown in October 1950.
22 in downtown Fort Collins in October 1950.
25 in southeast Fort Collins in October 1950. Here’s what the Wikipedia has to say about the film advertised on the side of the car: “Ecstasy (Czech: Extase, German: Ekstase) is a 1933 Czech-Austrian romantic drama film directed by Gustav Machatý and starring Hedy Lamarr (then Hedy Kiesler), Aribert Mog, and Zvonimir Rogoz.” Containing some nudity, although tame by today’s standards, the film was banned in the United States until 1940, and played to adult audiences at independent theaters and art houses, without the approval of the Hays Office.
22 near Colorado State University in October 1950.
21 at the south end of town in June 1948.
21 near Colorado State University in late June 1951.
22 in northwest Fort Collins in October 1950.
24 in front of the car barn in October 1950. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “2nd 24 was built by Brill Car Co in December 1922, #21530, as Virginia Railway & Power Co 1530 It was sold as FCM 24 in 1946 but seldom operated. Parts kept second Car 25 operating.”
21 at a passing siding in northwest Fort Collins in October 1950.
Fort Collins Municipal Railway “Birney” car 21, at the intersection of Johnson and Mountain Avenues. (Ward Photo)
FCMR 22 on October 26, 1949. Its paint scheme is described as green, red, and aluminum.
FCMR 25 at the car barn. (Ward Photo)
Feel the Birn(ey)! After service in Fort Collins ended in 1951, car 26 was sold to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. But prior to being put on static display, it operated in a Detroit parade of street railway equipment in August 1953. Don’s Rail Photos: “26 was built by American Car Co. in November 1922, #1324 as CERy 7. It was sold as FCM 26 it in 1924. It was sold to Henry Ford Museum and moved to Michigan in 1953 where it is on static display. It was operated several times on the trackage of the Department of Street Railways.” (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo) To read more about 26’s Michigan sojourn, click here.
25 stored at Woodland Park, Colorado on September 4, 1953.
25 stored at Woodland Park, Colorado on September 4, 1953. This was the second car 25, the first having been scrapped. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “2nd 25 was built by Brill Car Co in December 1922, #21530, as VR&P 1520. It was sold as FCM 25 in 1946. It was sold to James Stitzel in 1953 and resided next to the former Midland Terminal depot in Victor, CO, until it was sold to a South Carolina party about 1980. It was cosmetically restored. In 1998 it was sold to the Charlotte Trolley painted as South Carolina Public Service Co 407. It was sold to Fort Colins Municipal in 2008 and is being restored as 25.”
22 on static display at Golden, Colorado in July 1963.
According to Don’s Rail Photos, “22 was built by American Car Co in April 1919, #1184. It was retired in 1951 and sold to the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club in 1952. It was on static display at the Colorado Railroad Museum though 1997. It was leased to the Colorado Springs Transportation Society and presently being restored in the former Rock Island engine house. as Colorado Springs & Interurban Ry. 135.” It is shown here in September 1972.
Restored FCMR 21 as it appeared on May 14, 1995. (Mark D. Meyer Photo)
Before the Birneys, the Ft. Collins system used conventional streetcars, as seen in this postcard from circa 1910.
Many other cities had Birneys, of course. Here, we see Brantford (Ontario) Municipal Railway car 137 on July 1, 1935. This was ex-Lock Haven, Pa. Electric Railway car #2. (George Slyford Photo)
Johnstown Traction double-truck Birney 311 on September 3, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo) Rockhill Trolley Museum: “The first car acquired by Rockhill Trolley Museum was car #311. This car is a double truck “Birney Safety Car” built by Wason Manufacturing Co. of Springfield, MA. It was part of an order of cars for the city of Bangor, Maine, where it operated at number 14. It was sold to the Johnstown Traction Co. and went there in 1941. It served that city well, running until the end of service in 1960. Car #311 was the last Birney type car to be operated in any United States city on a regular schedule. Car 311 was chartered repeatedly by trolley fans in the 1950’s, as it was a favorite car of many.” (Clark Frazier Photo)
Johnstown Traction double-truck Birney 311 at Coopersdale on September 3, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo) The sounds of car 311, in service during the 1950s, can be heard of Railroad Record Club LP #23, which has been digitally remastered and is now available on compact disc via our Online Store.
Here is Johnstown 311 on June 30, 1957.
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First published in 1959, and long out of print, Steam Echoes captures the unforgettable sound drama of steam engines in action. Like Whistles West, it features the recordings of E. P. Ripley, made in the waning days of steam during the 1950s.
The scenes were selected for listening pleasure as well as to create an historical document. They represent the everyday workings of our old steam friends, selected for the most interest, or the most beauty. The series are purposely kept short to preserve their brilliance. They show the steam engine in all four of the ways it may be heard at work– riding in it, on the train behind it, traveling along beside it, and standing at trackside while it goes by, or stops and takes off again.
Railroads featured include Southern Pacific, Union Pacific, and Canadian National.
Ghost Train: Ghost Train, first issued in 1962 and also long unavailable, is a Hi-Fi stereo sound panorama of haunting memories, highlighting the final days of steam railroading. Railroads featured include the Grand Trunk Western, Norfolk & Western, Nickel Plate Road, Union Pacific, and the Reading Company. A particular highlight is a special whistle recording, demonstrating the famous “Doppler Effect” in true stereophonic sound.
Total time – 79:45
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