A Chicago Traction Valentine

This "red border" Kodachrome shows CTA salt car AA-104 at South Shops on January 4, 1956. Don's Rail Photos says, "AA104, salt car, was built by South Chicago City Ry in 1907 as SCCRy 339. It was rebuilt in 1907 and became C&SCRy (Calumet and South Chicago Railway) 838 in 1908. It was renumbered 2853 in 1913 and became CSL 2853 in 1914. It was later converted as a salt car and renumbered AA104 in 1948. It was retired on December 14, 1956." This was one of the few railroad-roof cars on the Chicago system. The main color here is Pullman Green. (James J. Buckley Photo)

This “red border” Kodachrome shows CTA salt car AA-104 at South Shops on January 4, 1956. Don’s Rail Photos says, “AA104, salt car, was built by South Chicago City Ry in 1907 as SCCRy 339. It was rebuilt in 1907 and became C&SCRy (Calumet and South Chicago Railway) 838 in 1908. It was renumbered 2853 in 1913 and became CSL 2853 in 1914. It was later converted as a salt car and renumbered AA104 in 1948. It was retired on December 14, 1956.” This was one of the few railroad-roof cars on the Chicago system. The main color here is Pullman Green. (James J. Buckley Photo)

After our recent forays to the East Coast, part of a series by guest contributor Kenneth Gear, we are back in Sweet Home Chicago for this one. Watch this space for additional posts in Ken’s series.

Although we are a few days late for Valentine’s Day, we nonetheless have many photographic gifts for Chicago-area traction fans in today’s post, that constitute a virtual Valentine to our readers. First, we have some recent finds. Next, a few color slides courtesy of William Shapotkin. Then, a bevy of classic black-and-white images taken by the late Robert Selle, one of the greatest railfan photographers.

We also have a book review, and there are two new audio CD collections in our ongoing efforts to digitize 1950s steam railroad audio for the 21st Century.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

Recent Finds

When the CTA opened the five-mile long Skokie Swift branch in April 1964 (over a small portion of the former North Shore Line) ridership far exceeded expectations. So the four articulated 5000-series cars were quickly renovated and adapted for Swift service. These were experimental when built in 1947-48 and became "oddballs" on the CTA system. Here, we see car 51 (renumbered from 5001) in October 1964 at Kostner. These cars continued to run into the 1980s. Two of the four sets were saved, and this set is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum. (Color correction by J. J. Sedelmaier)

When the CTA opened the five-mile long Skokie Swift branch in April 1964 (over a small portion of the former North Shore Line) ridership far exceeded expectations. So the four articulated 5000-series cars were quickly renovated and adapted for Swift service. These were experimental when built in 1947-48 and became “oddballs” on the CTA system. Here, we see car 51 (renumbered from 5001) in October 1964 at Kostner. These cars continued to run into the 1980s. Two of the four sets were saved, and this set is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum. (Color correction by J. J. Sedelmaier)

Three CTA trains of 6000-series "L"/Subway cars are lined up by the old Tower 18 in the early 1950s. As you can see, with the tower in the middle of the junction, not all moves could be made. For example, eastbound trains coming from Lake Street could not go straight east, but had to turn south. At this time, traffic on both the inner and outer Loop tracks went in the same direction (counter-clockwise). This arrangement was changed in 1969 when the CTA wanted to through-route Lake with the new Dan Ryan line. The tower was moved and replaced with a new one, and new eastbound trackage was built where the old tower was. That was also the beginning of bi-directional operations on the Loop, which continue to this day.

Three CTA trains of 6000-series “L”/Subway cars are lined up by the old Tower 18 in the early 1950s. As you can see, with the tower in the middle of the junction, not all moves could be made. For example, eastbound trains coming from Lake Street could not go straight east, but had to turn south. At this time, traffic on both the inner and outer Loop tracks went in the same direction (counter-clockwise). This arrangement was changed in 1969 when the CTA wanted to through-route Lake with the new Dan Ryan line. The tower was moved and replaced with a new one, and new eastbound trackage was built where the old tower was. That was also the beginning of bi-directional operations on the Loop, which continue to this day.

One-man CSL 3117 is eastbound on 18th Street at Carpenter (approx. 1100 West) in the 1940s. Don's Rail Photos: "3117 was built by CSL in 1922. It was scrapped in 1948." This was part of a series known as CSL Safety Cars, aka "Sewing Machines." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

One-man CSL 3117 is eastbound on 18th Street at Carpenter (approx. 1100 West) in the 1940s. Don’s Rail Photos: “3117 was built by CSL in 1922. It was scrapped in 1948.” This was part of a series known as CSL Safety Cars, aka “Sewing Machines.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

The same location today.

The same location today.

Two CTA PCCs (4064 and 4115) and red car 368, all Pullmans, at Kedzie Station (Fifth and Kedzie) on August 22, 1953. The main portion of Route 20 - Madison was converted to bus on December 13 of that year, and the Fifth Avenue branch continued for a few more months as a shuttle operation. The PCC at left is in its original colors (Mercury Green, Croydon Cream and Swamp Holly Orange), while the one in the center has been repainted in Everglade Green and Alpine White. (Robert Selle Photo)

Two CTA PCCs (4064 and 4115) and red car 368, all Pullmans, at Kedzie Station (Fifth and Kedzie) on August 22, 1953. The main portion of Route 20 – Madison was converted to bus on December 13 of that year, and the Fifth Avenue branch continued for a few more months as a shuttle operation. The PCC at left is in its original colors (Mercury Green, Croydon Cream and Swamp Holly Orange), while the one in the center has been repainted in Everglade Green and Alpine White. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA Postwar PCC 7200, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, at 81st and Halsted on January 2, 1954. This was the south end of Route 22, Clark-Wentworth. It's been pointed out to me that fans took a lot of pictures at this location, but here we had the opportunity to purchase the original medium-format neg, and not just a print. Notice the dents on the front of 7200. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA Postwar PCC 7200, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, at 81st and Halsted on January 2, 1954. This was the south end of Route 22, Clark-Wentworth. It’s been pointed out to me that fans took a lot of pictures at this location, but here we had the opportunity to purchase the original medium-format neg, and not just a print. Notice the dents on the front of 7200. (Robert Selle Photo)

"One-man PCC 4021, now northbound on the (private right-of-way) portion of the South Cottage Grove line." This was on May 30, 1955. 4021 is now the only preserved prewar PCC, and is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert Selle Photo)

“One-man PCC 4021, now northbound on the (private right-of-way) portion of the South Cottage Grove line.” This was on May 30, 1955. 4021 is now the only preserved prewar PCC, and is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert Selle Photo)

Color Slides, Courtesy of William Shapotkin:

"Looking westbound on (North) Lake Street toward Austin Boulevard., cars 3153 and 1757, woring CTA Lake Street line, lay over at west end-of-line. In distance (SW corner of Lake and Austin in Oak Park), a bus working the Chicago & West Towns Lake Street line takes its layover. May 15, 1954." (About two weeks before the end of streetcar service on Route 16).

“Looking westbound on (North) Lake Street toward Austin Boulevard., cars 3153 and 1757, woring CTA Lake Street line, lay over at west end-of-line. In distance (SW corner of Lake and Austin in Oak Park), a bus working the Chicago & West Towns Lake Street line takes its layover. May 15, 1954.” (About two weeks before the end of streetcar service on Route 16).

"Chicago, IL. CTA car #3153, working an eastbound trip on Route 16 - Lake, is eastbound in (North) Lake Street, having just crossed over Central Avenue. View looks west/northwest from the Chicago & North Western embankment. May 15, 1954."

“Chicago, IL. CTA car #3153, working an eastbound trip on Route 16 – Lake, is eastbound in (North) Lake Street, having just crossed over Central Avenue. View looks west/northwest from the Chicago & North Western embankment. May 15, 1954.”

CTA 1812 at Lake and Pine in February 1953, heading west on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L", which was elevated onto the adjacent embankment in 1962. Pine is where Route 16 streetcars crossed the "L" to go from what was then called South Lake Street to North Lake Street. In 1964, the South Lake Street portion in this area was renamed Corcoran Place, after the death of the local alderman. (Thanks to J. J. Sedelmaier for twerking, er "tweaking" this one to make it look better.)

CTA 1812 at Lake and Pine in February 1953, heading west on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L”, which was elevated onto the adjacent embankment in 1962. Pine is where Route 16 streetcars crossed the “L” to go from what was then called South Lake Street to North Lake Street. In 1964, the South Lake Street portion in this area was renamed Corcoran Place, after the death of the local alderman. (Thanks to J. J. Sedelmaier for twerking, er “tweaking” this one to make it look better.)

The same location today (Lake and Pine). This is where Lake Street takes a jog to the north side of the former Chicago & North Western embankment, and the CSL/CTA Route 16 streetcar went along with it. Since Lake Street pretty much split in two at this point, the section west of here (behind the photographer) was referred to as either North Lake or South Lake, depending on which side of the embankment you were on. This was a reasonable system, since there were no duplicate street numbers. But in 1964, the south portion between Pine and Austin (a distance of just over half a mile) was renamed Corcoran Place, after the local alderman, an ally of then-Mayor Richard J. Daley's, who died suddenly from a heart attack. The "L" was relocated onto the embankment in 1962 and the street it was in (either Lake Street, South Lake Street aka Corcoan Place, or South Boulevard in Oak Park) made wider, or made into parking lots.

The same location today (Lake and Pine). This is where Lake Street takes a jog to the north side of the former Chicago & North Western embankment, and the CSL/CTA Route 16 streetcar went along with it. Since Lake Street pretty much split in two at this point, the section west of here (behind the photographer) was referred to as either North Lake or South Lake, depending on which side of the embankment you were on. This was a reasonable system, since there were no duplicate street numbers. But in 1964, the south portion between Pine and Austin (a distance of just over half a mile) was renamed Corcoran Place, after the local alderman, an ally of then-Mayor Richard J. Daley’s, who died suddenly from a heart attack. The “L” was relocated onto the embankment in 1962 and the street it was in (either Lake Street, South Lake Street aka Corcoan Place, or South Boulevard in Oak Park) made wider, or made into parking lots.

"Chicago, IL. CTA car #4333 brings up the rear of an eastbound Lake Street "L" train. View looks east from Lake/Laramie station. Note pull-offs for overhead trolley wire, used west from Laramie station. June 23, 1959,"

“Chicago, IL. CTA car #4333 brings up the rear of an eastbound Lake Street “L” train. View looks east from Lake/Laramie station. Note pull-offs for overhead trolley wire, used west from Laramie station. June 23, 1959,”

"Chicago, IL. Looking westbound on CTA's Lake Street "L" at (South) Lake Street (now Corcoran Place), at Menard Avenue. Line car #S200 is seen doing wire work. In distance is the Austin/Lake "L" station. At right (on embankment) is one-time "Boulevard" Chicago & North Western station (located at Austin Boulevard). May 27, 1960." Don Ross: "S-200 was built by Barney & Smith in 1901 at M-WSER 783. It was renumbered in 1913 as 2783. In 1916 it was rebuilt as a work motor and numbered S-200. It became CRT S-200 in 1924."

“Chicago, IL. Looking westbound on CTA’s Lake Street “L” at (South) Lake Street (now Corcoran Place), at Menard Avenue. Line car #S200 is seen doing wire work. In distance is the Austin/Lake “L” station. At right (on embankment) is one-time “Boulevard” Chicago & North Western station (located at Austin Boulevard). May 27, 1960.” Don Ross: “S-200 was built by Barney & Smith in 1901 at M-WSER 783. It was renumbered in 1913 as 2783. In 1916 it was rebuilt as a work motor and numbered S-200. It became CRT S-200 in 1924.”

"Oak Park, IL. A pair of 4000s, working a westbound trip on CTA's Lake Street "L", are on South Boulevard at Kenilworth Avenue. Visible in distance (on embankment) is one-time "Avenue" Chicago & North Western passenger station, located at Oak Park Avenue. View looks east on January 18, 1962."

“Oak Park, IL. A pair of 4000s, working a westbound trip on CTA’s Lake Street “L”, are on South Boulevard at Kenilworth Avenue. Visible in distance (on embankment) is one-time “Avenue” Chicago & North Western passenger station, located at Oak Park Avenue. View looks east on January 18, 1962.”

In the center, we see the portal at the north end of the State Street subway, just south of Armitage. The two middle "L" tracks were moved to the outer edge of the structure when the subway was built. The "L" continued south from this point with four tracks to Chicago Avenue. In recent years, the two outer tracks have been removed, and just a siding remains at this point.

In the center, we see the portal at the north end of the State Street subway, just south of Armitage. The two middle “L” tracks were moved to the outer edge of the structure when the subway was built. The “L” continued south from this point with four tracks to Chicago Avenue. In recent years, the two outer tracks have been removed, and just a siding remains at this point.

Chicago, Burlington & Qunict locomotive 4978 in Mendota, IL on September 2, 2010 with a Metra Electric (ex-Illinois Central "Highliner" at left. Both are at the Union Depot Railroad Museum. (Mike Sosalla Photo)

Chicago, Burlington & Qunict locomotive 4978 in Mendota, IL on September 2, 2010 with a Metra Electric (ex-Illinois Central “Highliner” at left. Both are at the Union Depot Railroad Museum. (Mike Sosalla Photo)

Classic Bob Selle Images

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably already know that the late Robert Selle (1929-2013) was an excellent photographer who specialized in black-and-white. As with many other railfan photographers, his extensive collection of images got scattered after his death.

Now and again, some of them pop up on eBay, but not always identified as his work in the auction listings. Fortunately, Selle is one of those few photographers whose work can be recognized at a glance, as it is often a cut above the rest.

Over the years, we have purchased a few Bob Selle negatives, which have been featured on this blog (including three in today’s post).

In 2011, Jeff Wien and the late Bradley Criss visited Mr. Selle in Florida, and he generously allowed them to scan some of his negatives. Tragically, Bradley Criss passed away in 2016 (you can read an appreciation of him here). He would have been 55 years old on February 4th.

As a tribute to both Bob Selle and Bradley Criss, here is a selection from the images they scanned, courtesy of Jeff Wien and the Wien-Criss Archive.

CTA Pullman 495 at Limits Station (car barn), so named because it was once at the north end of the city limits when first built. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 495 at Limits Station (car barn), so named because it was once at the north end of the city limits when first built. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 581 at Milwaukee and Clinton, in front of Chicago & North Western steam loco 1564. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 581 at Milwaukee and Clinton, in front of Chicago & North Western steam loco 1564. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4200 northbound on Clark near Montrose. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4200 northbound on Clark near Montrose. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA postwar PCC 4224 (a Pullman) at the Limits car barn. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA postwar PCC 4224 (a Pullman) at the Limits car barn. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The group photo from the last Chicago streetcar fantrip on May 25, 1958. This was less than a month before the end of streetcar service in Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The group photo from the last Chicago streetcar fantrip on May 25, 1958. This was less than a month before the end of streetcar service in Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 6136 on the Museum Loop in Grant Park, just east of the Illinois Central Electric. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 6136 on the Museum Loop in Grant Park, just east of the Illinois Central Electric. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA snow sweeper E223 was saved from destruction by Dick Lukin, and it is shown here in 1958, on its way to the Illinois Electric Railway Museum site in North Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA snow sweeper E223 was saved from destruction by Dick Lukin, and it is shown here in 1958, on its way to the Illinois Electric Railway Museum site in North Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A young (and shiirtless) Nick Kallas at the ERHS (Electric Railway Historical Society) site in Downers Grove, where streetcars such as Chicago & West Towns 141, shown here, were stored between 1959 and 1973, when the collection went to the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A young (and shiirtless) Nick Kallas at the ERHS (Electric Railway Historical Society) site in Downers Grove, where streetcars such as Chicago & West Towns 141, shown here, were stored between 1959 and 1973, when the collection went to the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 433, built by the Cincinnati Car Company in 1927. The tower, just barely visible at rear, was part of Wheaton Yard. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 433, built by the Cincinnati Car Company in 1927. The tower, just barely visible at rear, was part of Wheaton Yard. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CA&E 453, a 1945 product of St. Louis Car Company, at the Wheaton station. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CA&E 453, a 1945 product of St. Louis Car Company, at the Wheaton station. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A six-car CA&E train westbound at the Halsted curve. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A six-car CA&E train westbound at the Halsted curve. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CA&E 458 heads a three-car train westbound at Western Avenue. The CTA bus on Van Buren indicates that this picture was taken no earlier than August 12, 1951. The Van Buren Street temporary trackage appears to be in place already, but testing has not started yet, as there are barriers in place. "L" service shifted to the temporary trackage in September 1953 and the CA&E cut back service to Forest Park. At left you can see the imposing structure of Richard T. Crane Medical Preparatory High School, otherwise known as Crane Tech. We are looking to the east. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CA&E 458 heads a three-car train westbound at Western Avenue. The CTA bus on Van Buren indicates that this picture was taken no earlier than August 12, 1951. The Van Buren Street temporary trackage appears to be in place already, but testing has not started yet, as there are barriers in place. “L” service shifted to the temporary trackage in September 1953 and the CA&E cut back service to Forest Park. At left you can see the imposing structure of Richard T. Crane Medical Preparatory High School, otherwise known as Crane Tech. We are looking to the east. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Two North Shore Line trains pass at Ravinia on a 1953 Shore Line Route fantrip. This is not the same stop as Ravinia Park, which is some distance away. The area taken up by the NSL tracks is now a parking lot for the Metra station (former Chicago & North Western), whose tracks are at left. We are looking southeast. Presumably the Silverliner at right is the fantrip train as the other train is not flying flags. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Two North Shore Line trains pass at Ravinia on a 1953 Shore Line Route fantrip. This is not the same stop as Ravinia Park, which is some distance away. The area taken up by the NSL tracks is now a parking lot for the Metra station (former Chicago & North Western), whose tracks are at left. We are looking southeast. Presumably the Silverliner at right is the fantrip train as the other train is not flying flags. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The building just visible in the previous picture, located at 514 Roger Williams Avenue in Highland Park.

The building just visible in the previous picture, located at 514 Roger Williams Avenue in Highland Park.

Chicago & North Western loco 505 heads up at train at Kinzie Street. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago & North Western loco 505 heads up at train at Kinzie Street. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

C&NW loco 531 and train at Edison Park. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

C&NW loco 531 and train at Edison Park. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

C&NW 545 and train in Edison Park on Chicago's northwest side. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

C&NW 545 and train in Edison Park on Chicago’s northwest side. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 291 at 63rd and Narragansett, possibly during the period just before Route 63 was converted to bus on May 24, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 291 at 63rd and Narragansett, possibly during the period just before Route 63 was converted to bus on May 24, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 475, running on Route 56 - Milwaukee Avenue, emerges from the east portal of the Washington streetcar tunnel at Franklin Street, having traveled under the Chicago River. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 475, running on Route 56 – Milwaukee Avenue, emerges from the east portal of the Washington streetcar tunnel at Franklin Street, having traveled under the Chicago River. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 384 at Roosevelt and Paulina. Cars on Route 9 - Ashland took a jog here, as streetcars were not allowed to run on boulevards. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 384 at Roosevelt and Paulina. Cars on Route 9 – Ashland took a jog here, as streetcars were not allowed to run on boulevards. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 124 at Division and Wells on Route 6 - Van Buren. The latest this photo could have been taken is 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 124 at Division and Wells on Route 6 – Van Buren. The latest this photo could have been taken is 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 265 is northbound at State and Archer on Route 45 (Ashland-Downtown). At left, we see a Route 44 CTA bus. This helps date the picture to between July 7, 1951 (when 44 converted to bus) and February 14, 1954 (when routes 9 and 45 were converted). (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 265 is northbound at State and Archer on Route 45 (Ashland-Downtown). At left, we see a Route 44 CTA bus. This helps date the picture to between July 7, 1951 (when 44 converted to bus) and February 14, 1954 (when routes 9 and 45 were converted). (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 276 is eastbound at 63rd and Paulina on Route 63, probably in 1953 near the end of streetcar service on this line. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 276 is eastbound at 63rd and Paulina on Route 63, probably in 1953 near the end of streetcar service on this line. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 377, also at 63rd and Paulina. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 377, also at 63rd and Paulina. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 289 is eastbound on Grand near Milwaukee on Route 65. This route was converted to bus on April 1, 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 289 is eastbound on Grand near Milwaukee on Route 65. This route was converted to bus on April 1, 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 452 is on Southport at Clark, the north end of Route 9 - Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 452 is on Southport at Clark, the north end of Route 9 – Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 453 is heading west on diversion trackage on Route 8 - Halsted at Chicago Avenue in 1953. I believe the PCC at the rear is 7228, a product of the St. Louis Car Company. The diversion was between Division and Chicago, and was used when work was being done on the Halsted Street bridge over the Chicago River. The two streetcars are about to turn from eastbound Chicago Avenue onto southbound Halsted. PCCs were being phased out on Halsted during this period, as CTA had begun shipping the 310 Pullmans to the St. Louis Car Company for scrapping and parts reuse on a like number of 6000-series rapid transit cars. By the time streetcar service ended on Halsted in 1954, service was being provided entirely by the older red cars. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 453 is heading west on diversion trackage on Route 8 – Halsted at Chicago Avenue in 1953. I believe the PCC at the rear is 7228, a product of the St. Louis Car Company. The diversion was between Division and Chicago, and was used when work was being done on the Halsted Street bridge over the Chicago River. The two streetcars are about to turn from eastbound Chicago Avenue onto southbound Halsted. PCCs were being phased out on Halsted during this period, as CTA had begun shipping the 310 Pullmans to the St. Louis Car Company for scrapping and parts reuse on a like number of 6000-series rapid transit cars. By the time streetcar service ended on Halsted in 1954, service was being provided entirely by the older red cars. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The note that came with this image of CTA Pullman 469 says it is on Kedzie near Chicago Avenue. But the sign on the streetcar says route 66, which is Chicago and not Kedzie. So perhaps we are on Chicago Avenue near Kedzie. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive) Patrick Cunningham adds: "The Pullman 469 photo is on Chicago Ave. looking east from the CNW viaduct towards Sacramento. The building in the far background still exists."

The note that came with this image of CTA Pullman 469 says it is on Kedzie near Chicago Avenue. But the sign on the streetcar says route 66, which is Chicago and not Kedzie. So perhaps we are on Chicago Avenue near Kedzie. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive) Patrick Cunningham adds: “The Pullman 469 photo is on Chicago Ave. looking east from the CNW viaduct towards Sacramento. The building in the far background still exists.”

The view looking east from about 3037 West Chicago Avenue, which is probably just a bit east of where the above photo was taken. You can see that the same building is at rear on Sacramento Boulevard.

The view looking east from about 3037 West Chicago Avenue, which is probably just a bit east of where the above photo was taken. You can see that the same building is at rear on Sacramento Boulevard.

CTA Pullman 381 at 63rd Place and Narragansett, the west end of Route 63. This picture may have been taken early in 1953, after PCCs had been replaced by older cars on this line, shortly before it was converted to bus. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 381 at 63rd Place and Narragansett, the west end of Route 63. This picture may have been taken early in 1953, after PCCs had been replaced by older cars on this line, shortly before it was converted to bus. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 409 is on Southport at Clark, the north end of Route 9 - Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 409 is on Southport at Clark, the north end of Route 9 – Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman n 504 exiting the Washington Street tunnel, operating on Route 56 - Milwaukee Avenue. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman n 504 exiting the Washington Street tunnel, operating on Route 56 – Milwaukee Avenue. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 523 at the same location. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 523 at the same location. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 540 at Southport and Clark, ready to head south on another trip on Route 9 - Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 540 at Southport and Clark, ready to head south on another trip on Route 9 – Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 610, an Ashland car, heads south on Clark at School Street. There is a similar photo on page 104 in my book Chicago Trolleys, showing car 144 at the same location. That picture is dated May 7, 1953 which may be when this picture was taken. That car was a pull-in to the Limits car barn, which may also be the case here. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 610, an Ashland car, heads south on Clark at School Street. There is a similar photo on page 104 in my book Chicago Trolleys, showing car 144 at the same location. That picture is dated May 7, 1953 which may be when this picture was taken. That car was a pull-in to the Limits car barn, which may also be the case here. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 669 at 63rd and Paulina, probably in early 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 669 at 63rd and Paulina, probably in early 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 675 is westbound on Chicago Avenue at Grand Avenue on Route 66. Note the cool Bowman Dairy truck. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 675 is westbound on Chicago Avenue at Grand Avenue on Route 66. Note the cool Bowman Dairy truck. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 839 is on Ashland at Chicago on Route 9. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 839 is on Ashland at Chicago on Route 9. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Ther motorman of CTA Pullman 879 waves at the photographer as he rounds the turn from Wells onto Division, running Through Route 3 - Lincoln-Indiana, which was discontinued on March 11, 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Ther motorman of CTA Pullman 879 waves at the photographer as he rounds the turn from Wells onto Division, running Through Route 3 – Lincoln-Indiana, which was discontinued on March 11, 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The same location today. Things have sure changed a lot!

The same location today. Things have sure changed a lot!

CTA 171 on Ogden at Ashland, operating on Route 58. The white stripe indicates that this is a one-man car. 1721 was part of a series known as "169" or Broadway-State cars. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 171 on Ogden at Ashland, operating on Route 58. The white stripe indicates that this is a one-man car. 1721 was part of a series known as “169” or Broadway-State cars. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 173 is on Chicago Avenue near Ashland, on Route 66. Note the Goldblatt's nearby. Goldblatt's was a local department store chain that operated from 1914 until 2000. In 1946, they had 15 local stores, with annual sales of $62m. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 173 is on Chicago Avenue near Ashland, on Route 66. Note the Goldblatt’s nearby. Goldblatt’s was a local department store chain that operated from 1914 until 2000. In 1946, they had 15 local stores, with annual sales of $62m. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1765 is at the west end of Route 16 - Lake, at Austin Boulevard, the city limits, in 1952. The old Park Theater is behind the streetcar. It closed around this time, although it may still have been open when this picture was taken. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1765 is at the west end of Route 16 – Lake, at Austin Boulevard, the city limits, in 1952. The old Park Theater is behind the streetcar. It closed around this time, although it may still have been open when this picture was taken. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Another view, a "roster shot," showing 1765 by the Park Theater. Note the movie theater is not boarded up, which probably means it was still open when this picture was taken in 1952. Chances are, it fell victim to competition from television. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Another view, a “roster shot,” showing 1765 by the Park Theater. Note the movie theater is not boarded up, which probably means it was still open when this picture was taken in 1952. Chances are, it fell victim to competition from television. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 17778 is on Route 66 - Chicago Avenue at Ashland, passing by a Woolworth's dime store. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 17778 is on Route 66 – Chicago Avenue at Ashland, passing by a Woolworth’s dime store. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1781 at the same location. The white stripe on the front let riders know that this was a one-man car, and therefore they should enter at the front, instead of the rear, as they would on a two-man car. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1781 at the same location. The white stripe on the front let riders know that this was a one-man car, and therefore they should enter at the front, instead of the rear, as they would on a two-man car. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Book Review: Chicago Streetcar Memories

Chicago Streetcar Memories
By Kenneth C. Springirth
Publisher: ???? (2018)
Softcover, 128 pages

A new Chicago streetcar book is always a welcome addition to one’s library. Someone recently gave me a copy of Chicago Streetcar Memories by Kenneth C. Springirth, which came out last month.

As the author of Chicago Trolleys (see below), and co-author of a Chicago PCC book, I probably have a different perspective on this type of work than many people who will read it. I’ll put in my two cents for what it’s worth, but feel free to make up your own mind on these matters.

Mr. Springirth, who is about 78 years old and lives in Erie, Pennsylvania, has written numerous traction picture books over the years. Looking him up on Amazon, I found at least two dozen titles going back to 1968, although, for whatever reason, I did not see this new one listed there. Another source credits him with 35 books.

This new volume does not have any ISBN information, and no publisher is listed. So, in the absence of knowledge to the contrary, I am going to assume that it is a self-published work. In recent years, Springirth has been prolific, putting out a few such picture books per year.

Usually an author collects a royalty, if he or she is lucky, from a publisher who is willing to take a chance on their work. This generally involves an editor, who works with the author. There is back-and-forth until both parties are satisfied they have done their best, and then the book is published. It is a partnership.

Self-publishing, by my way of looking at it, is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, for those authors with deep enough pockets to finance the production costs, there is the chance to keep a lot more of the profits– as long as you can find a way to sell your books in sufficient quantities to create a profit.

Having absolute creative control over your book can be the ideal situation. On the other hand, an editor is a useful sounding board, and can also elevate the quality of your writing by asking you to revise your work and do better. An editor tries to get your best work out of you. The goal of a publisher should be to take what the author has done and improve it, to make a better book.

Whether by coincidence or otherwise, this book has the same name as a DVD put out some years back by Chicago Transport Memories, LLC. However, titles cannot be copyrighted (although sometimes they may be trademarked), and any way you look at it, this is a good title. The same author also has a recent book out called Baltimore Streetcar Memories, so perhaps he envisions this as part of a series.

It is worth noting that there is no connection between the DVD put out by Chicago Transport Memories, LLC and this new book, even though they have the same exact title.  Complicating matters even further, the Chicago Streetcar Memories DVD was included along with copies of Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958, Bulletin 146 from the Central Electric Railfans’ Association, which I co-authored.

All the pictures in this new book, except for the cover, are black-and-white. The overall effect, at 128 pages, is somewhat like an oversized Arcadia book in their Images of Rail series, perhaps not surprising as Mr. Springirth has written a few of those also.

Unfortunately, the larger format was not put to best use, as the images in general are not very sharp and a few are downright fuzzy. I do not know if this is due to the choice of dpi (dots per inch) when the original images were scanned, or whether this somehow relates to the printing process used, or both.  In general, it would be fair to say that the images in Chicago Trolleys are sharper and more detailed than those in the Chicago Streetcar Memories book, even though our book is somewhat smaller in overall dimensions.

I don’t know why this should be the case, but it is true.

Except for a few pictures taken by the author, the bulk of images between the covers come from a single source– the collections of the late Clifford R. Scholes (1927-2018), who died less than a month ago. For that reason, it practically makes Scholes a co-author of the book, although he is not named as such, for the book inevitably reflects Scholes’ viewpoint as much as Springirth’s.

Getting all your images from a single source makes writing such a book a lot more convenient, I am sure, but it is a practice that I do not subscribe to for my own book projects. My philosophy is to leave no stone unturned, making a thorough and exhaustive search for images that will provide the reader with enough variety to make things interesting.

I keep digging into a subject until I feel I have a foundation for a book, and then I keep digging deeper. There is always the chance that if you dig deep enough, you will reach a deeper understanding of your subject than you started with.

There is a danger in using photos from a single source, and that is they reflect a singular point of view. You run the risk of having too many similar-looking types of pictures, and miss out on different perspectives.

Having such a large collection to draw upon may be useful to an author who is trying to put out several books a year. But everyone is different, and as an author, it is not the path I have chosen for myself.

When you stop searching for new material, you run the risk that you also stop learning.  And there is a temptation to stop looking when you say, “I have enough material to make a book,” even though there still might be better information out there.

I notice that in this book, there is not one picture showing the interior of a streetcar. My own book Chicago Trolleys has several such interior shots. I based my own work on the idea that history is the story of people, so I made it a point to show the motormen, conductors and riders in various situations, including paying their fares on a two-man PCC.

Although the title would tell you this is a streetcar book, the final chapter features Chicago trolley buses (although, inexplicably, they are referred to as “trackless trolleys,” a term that may have been popular in other places, but was never commonly used by Chicagoans).

One of the first rules of writing is to write what you know.  I know Chicago, having lived my entire life here.  Therefore, I wouldn’t dream of writing a book about Erie, Pennsylvania or some other city, because that is not what I know the best.  But that is just me.

Perhaps inspired by some recent Dispatches from the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society, this book goes into some detail on various streetcar routes. But since this is mainly a picture book, a single page of text at the start of several chapters is not sufficient space to cover seven routes apiece, as the author tries to do.  The overall effect here is confusing, as the author tries to do too much in the limited amount of space available.

Personally, I found the maps in this book to be somewhat amateurish. They are hand-drawn, and scanned in such a way as to not be very sharp. In fact, you could say they are downright pixilated.

I chose not to use maps in Chicago Trolleys, since there were so many streetcar lines at one time that a Surface Lines map would look like a plate of spaghetti.  My book did not try to be a route history per se. But there are several maps in the book project I am working on now, and I had to look long and hard to find ones that will be easy to read, and convey the information I want the reader to have. It is not easy to do.

In my humble opinion, the text in such books should be more than a mere recitation of facts.  There are numerous sources for transit facts, such as how the Chicago Transit Authority took over operations of the “L” and surface systems on October 1, 1947 or that the last Chicago streetcar ran on June 21, 1958.  It is an author’s responsibility to provide insight as well as facts.  Yes, these things happened, but why did they happen?  What were the circumstances and influences that made this so?

Whether by sheer coincidence, or otherwise, the last two pictures in Chicago Streeetcar Memories are very similar to the ones that conclude Chicago Trolleys, and show a Chicago PCC and a Chicago trolley bus at the Illinois Railway Museum.

All in all, I was somewhat disappointed in the Chicago Streetcar Memories book. But far be it from me to discourage anyone from buying it, since a book about Chicago streetcars is better than no book at all. Reading is always something to be encouraged, and authors applauded for their efforts at preserving history for the benefit of future generations.

If you are looking for detailed Chicago route histories, I would suggest getting a copy of the third edition of the late Alan R. Lind’s Chicago Surface Lines: An Illustrated History, which will probably remain for all time the best-ever Chicago streetcar book, and the standard by which all others are judged. Since it was published four decades ago, important contributions have been made to route histories by some of the Shore Line Dispatches.

If you are interested in Chicago PCC cars, CERA B-146 is the ne plus ultra, and our intention in writing it was to provide, at least for this aspect, a kind of updated color descendant of the Lind book, which is only black-and-white.

Chicago’s streetcar system was once so vast that no single book could do full justice to it, but we authors must continue to try.

That being said, my own recent work Chicago Trolleys provides an overview, which in my case was anything electric that ran in the Chicago area and used overhead wire instead of third rail. I also cover horsecars and cable cars, which preceded electric streetcars. My intention was to introduce the novice to the subject, while at the same time provide enough new material and previously unseen photographs to entertain even the most diehard railfan. We will leave it to our readers to tell us whether we succeeded.

Whatever my own reservations might be about it, the fact remains that you may still enjoy this new book.

While Chicago Streetcar Memories is not available (yet) on Amazon, you can purchase a copy from either Ron’s Books or the Seashore Trolley Museum.  Expect to pay about 50% more for a copy, compared to Chicago Trolleys.

-David Sadowski

New 1950s Steam Train Audio CDs:

HF-123
The Howard Fogg Steam Train Collection
# of Discs- 3
Price: $24.99


The Howard Fogg Steam Train Collection

Howard Fogg (1917-1996) was a renaissance man, the dean of American railroad illustrators. But it is not as well-known that he recorded the sounds of steam trains in their waning mainline days starting in 1954.

These recordings were released on four LPs by the long-defunct Owl Records label between 1959 and 1969. They have since become collector’s items.

They are excellent recordings. Fogg knew everybody in the railroad industry, so he had access to railroad towers and places ordinary folks could not get to. In addition, he did his own narration, and had a great voice for it.

The four Fogg LPs are widely regarded as being classics, and the equal of anything put out by the Railroad Record Club. The titles were Power of the Past!, The Talking Giants, All Steamed Up! and The Big Steam…, Union Pacific.

These “orphan works” have been digitally remastered for the 21st century and are now available on a three-CD set for your listening pleasure. Railroads covered include the Baltimore & Ohio, Grand Trunk Western, Nickel Plate, Detroit Toledo & Ironton, Illinois Central, New York Central, Pennsylvania Railroad, Colorado & Southern, Rio Grande, and Union Pacific.

Total time – 174:59


HD
Highball
Doubleheader
# of Discs- 1
Price: $14.99

Highball, narrated by Jim Ameche (Don Ameche’s brother), was originally issued in 1959 on LP by a long-defunct record label. Railroads featured include Colorado & Southern, Great Western, Santa Maria Valley, Union Pacific, and Southern Pacific. Bonus tracks feature the Denver and Rio Grande Western, Canadian Pacific, and Pennsylvania Railroad.

Total time: 77:08

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.

This book makes an excellent gift and costs just $17.99 plus shipping. That’s $4.00 off the list price.

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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Recent Finds, 8-16-2017

Chicago Aurora & Elgin wood car 301 sports a new paint job at Wheaton Yard in August 1959, two years after the end of passenger service. It sits forlornly while waiting for a buyer that never came. Fortunately, some other cars were saved.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin wood car 301 sports a new paint job at Wheaton Yard in August 1959, two years after the end of passenger service. It sits forlornly while waiting for a buyer that never came. Fortunately, some other cars were saved.

We have been hard at work since our last post. Here are lots of great, classic pictures for your consideration.

In addition, we have new CD titles, which include about six hours of classic train audio. This means we have now digitized the complete Railroad Record Club collection and have made these long out-of-print recordings available to a new generation of fans. For each hour of CD audio, there is at least 10 hours of work involved. I hope that you will enjoy the results.

Our new book Chicago Trolleys is now 100% finished and has gone to press. There is also a set of 15 postcards available for a very reasonable price, using selected images from the book. The details are at the end of this post.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

CTA one-man streetcar 3144 heads east on Route 16 - Lake Street somewhere between Laramie and Pine Street, while a two-car train of 400-series "L" cars runs at ground level parallel to the streetcar. The time must be near the end of red car service here, which was May 30, 1954, as that is a 1953 or 1954 Cadillac at left. The C&NW signal tower on the embankment is still there today, at about Pine Street, which is where streetcars crossed the "L" to run north of the embankment for a few blocks before terminating at Austin Boulevard, the city limits.

CTA one-man streetcar 3144 heads east on Route 16 – Lake Street somewhere between Laramie and Pine Street, while a two-car train of 400-series “L” cars runs at ground level parallel to the streetcar. The time must be near the end of red car service here, which was May 30, 1954, as that is a 1953 or 1954 Cadillac at left. The C&NW signal tower on the embankment is still there today, at about Pine Street, which is where streetcars crossed the “L” to run north of the embankment for a few blocks before terminating at Austin Boulevard, the city limits.

CTA 1777 is on Lake Street heading east near Laramie, next to the ramp that once took the Lake Street "L" up to steel structure. A few of the older red trolleys were repainted in this color scheme by CTA, but I don't know anyone who found this very attractive when compared to what it replaced. The total distance where streetcars and "L" cars ran side-by-side was only a few blocks.

CTA 1777 is on Lake Street heading east near Laramie, next to the ramp that once took the Lake Street “L” up to steel structure. A few of the older red trolleys were repainted in this color scheme by CTA, but I don’t know anyone who found this very attractive when compared to what it replaced. The total distance where streetcars and “L” cars ran side-by-side was only a few blocks.

The same location today, at about 5450 West Lake Street.

The same location today, at about 5450 West Lake Street.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s at the west end of the Lake Street "L" in Forest Park. This picture was probably taken circa 1961-62, since you can see that at right, work is already underway on expanding the embankment to create space for a rail yard. On October 28, 1962, the out end of Lake was relocated to the C&NW embankment at left.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s at the west end of the Lake Street “L” in Forest Park. This picture was probably taken circa 1961-62, since you can see that at right, work is already underway on expanding the embankment to create space for a rail yard. On October 28, 1962, the out end of Lake was relocated to the C&NW embankment at left.

Here, we see the Garfield Park "L" temporary tracks on Van Buren at Loomis, looking east on July 1, 1956. Construction on the adjacent Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower) is pretty far along. This operation would continue until the opening of the Congress median line on June 22, 1958.

Here, we see the Garfield Park “L” temporary tracks on Van Buren at Loomis, looking east on July 1, 1956. Construction on the adjacent Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower) is pretty far along. This operation would continue until the opening of the Congress median line on June 22, 1958.

At left, we can see Chicago Pullman 225 under a makeshift shelter at the Seashore Trolley Museum. 225 went there in 1957, but offhand, I'm not sure when the UK double-decker tram made the trip across the Atlantic.

At left, we can see Chicago Pullman 225 under a makeshift shelter at the Seashore Trolley Museum. 225 went there in 1957, but offhand, I’m not sure when the UK double-decker tram made the trip across the Atlantic.

A night shot from the National Tramway Museum in Crich (UK), which is home to more than 60 trams built between 1900 and 1950.

A night shot from the National Tramway Museum in Crich (UK), which is home to more than 60 trams built between 1900 and 1950.

CTA's line car S-606 at the Dempster terminal of the Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line). According to Don's Rail Photos, "S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum." (Photo by Bob Harris) Bob Harris adds, "By the way, the body of 606 is back in Illinois. When CLS&SB #73 comes out of the restoration shop, 606 goes in. We have the Cincinnati Car Company drawings. But since 606 was virtually destroyed in the November 26, 1977 fire, this will be more of a re-creation rather than a restoration."

CTA’s line car S-606 at the Dempster terminal of the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line). According to Don’s Rail Photos, “S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum.” (Photo by Bob Harris) Bob Harris adds, “By the way, the body of 606 is back in Illinois. When CLS&SB #73 comes out of the restoration shop, 606 goes in. We have the Cincinnati Car Company drawings. But since 606 was virtually destroyed in the November 26, 1977 fire, this will be more of a re-creation rather than a restoration.”

Here, we are looking south on State Street from Monroe in 1942. Construction of the State Street Subway is being finished up, with the construction of stairway entrances. New streetcar tracks have been set in concrete, while it looks like some street paving work is still going on. The famous Palmer House is at left. There are a few references to WWII visible, meaning this picture was taken after Pearl Harbor. The subway was put into regular service on October 17, 1943.

Here, we are looking south on State Street from Monroe in 1942. Construction of the State Street Subway is being finished up, with the construction of stairway entrances. New streetcar tracks have been set in concrete, while it looks like some street paving work is still going on. The famous Palmer House is at left. There are a few references to WWII visible, meaning this picture was taken after Pearl Harbor. The subway was put into regular service on October 17, 1943.

A close-up of the previous picture.

A close-up of the previous picture.

This aerial view shows the old Main Chicago Post Office and the near west side in 1946, before work started on building the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower), which now runs right through the center of the building. That will give you an idea of just what a massive project this was. The old Metropolitan "L", parts of which were displaced by the highway, has already curved off to the left, where it can be seen crossing the Union Station train sheds. Two side-by-side bridges carried the four tracks over the Chicago River. Then, tracks split, one part going to the Wells Street Terminal, the other continuing to a connection with the Loop structure at Wells and Van Buren. Now, the CTA Blue Line subway goes underneath the post office and river.

This aerial view shows the old Main Chicago Post Office and the near west side in 1946, before work started on building the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower), which now runs right through the center of the building. That will give you an idea of just what a massive project this was. The old Metropolitan “L”, parts of which were displaced by the highway, has already curved off to the left, where it can be seen crossing the Union Station train sheds. Two side-by-side bridges carried the four tracks over the Chicago River. Then, tracks split, one part going to the Wells Street Terminal, the other continuing to a connection with the Loop structure at Wells and Van Buren. Now, the CTA Blue Line subway goes underneath the post office and river.

A close-up of the previous picture shows the Met "L" in greater detail. An eastbound two-car "L" train and a red CSL streetcar are visible.

A close-up of the previous picture shows the Met “L” in greater detail. An eastbound two-car “L” train and a red CSL streetcar are visible.

In this picture, it looks like the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower) has just opened, which would date the picture to November 1960. We are looking east near Oak Park Avenue. Many things are unfinished, and traffic is limited to two lanes in each direction (and already very crowded). According to Graham Garfield's excellent web site, the new Oak Park station opened on March 19, 1960, and the station house was finished on March 27, 1961.

In this picture, it looks like the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower) has just opened, which would date the picture to November 1960. We are looking east near Oak Park Avenue. Many things are unfinished, and traffic is limited to two lanes in each direction (and already very crowded). According to Graham Garfield’s excellent web site, the new Oak Park station opened on March 19, 1960, and the station house was finished on March 27, 1961.

Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee car 772 in 1959 at the barn lead to the Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee..

Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee car 772 in 1959 at the barn lead to the Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee..

North Shore Line car 158 is a northbound Waukegan Express on the Shore Line Route at North Chicago, July 4, 1949. This was the also date of an Electric Railroaders Association (ERA) fantrip. 158 was built by Brill in 1915.

North Shore Line car 158 is a northbound Waukegan Express on the Shore Line Route at North Chicago, July 4, 1949. This was the also date of an Electric Railroaders Association (ERA) fantrip. 158 was built by Brill in 1915.

North Shore Line city streetcar 356 in the 1940s. The consensus is this shows Waukegan, as there was no curve in Milwaukee that matches the buildings in this picture. Jerry Wiatrowski adds, "This is in Waukegan! The photographer is standing on the South side of Belvidere Street looking East/Northeast. The Westbound streetcar is turning off of Marion Street (now South Genesee Street) and will shortly turn right onto South Genesee Street as it travels North thru the center of downtown Waukegan. If I recall correctly, the “s-curve” this streetcar is on was known as “Merchants curve”. The sailors that can be seen in the windows of the car are going to downtown Waukegan from the Great Lakes Naval Base, the South end of the streetcar line."

North Shore Line city streetcar 356 in the 1940s. The consensus is this shows Waukegan, as there was no curve in Milwaukee that matches the buildings in this picture. Jerry Wiatrowski adds, “This is in Waukegan! The photographer is standing on the South side of Belvidere Street looking East/Northeast. The Westbound streetcar is turning off of Marion Street (now South Genesee Street) and will shortly turn right onto South Genesee Street as it travels North thru the center of downtown Waukegan. If I recall correctly, the “s-curve” this streetcar is on was known as “Merchants curve”. The sailors that can be seen in the windows of the car are going to downtown Waukegan from the Great Lakes Naval Base, the South end of the streetcar line.”

Randolph Street looking east in the late 1940s. The RKO Palace Theatre, located at 151 West Randolph, is now the Cadillac Palace.

Randolph Street looking east in the late 1940s. The RKO Palace Theatre, located at 151 West Randolph, is now the Cadillac Palace.

CTA Pullman 106 at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

CTA Pullman 106 at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

A view of the north side of CTA's South Shops on September 10, 1952. In a previous post, we ran a picture of car 4001 taken on this trackage. That picture was taken in the 1930s, and by 1952 it appears one track had been taken out of service.

A view of the north side of CTA’s South Shops on September 10, 1952. In a previous post, we ran a picture of car 4001 taken on this trackage. That picture was taken in the 1930s, and by 1952 it appears one track had been taken out of service.

PS- Here is that photo of 4001, which we previously ran in our post More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Four (10-12-2015):

CSL 4001 may be on non-revenue trackage at the north end of South Shops. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 4001 may be on non-revenue trackage at the north end of South Shops. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

This picture was taken on September 9, 1952, looking north from the Main Street station on CTA's Evanston branch.

This picture was taken on September 9, 1952, looking north from the Main Street station on CTA’s Evanston branch.

On September 9, 1952, a southbound North Shore Line train, running via the Shore Line Route, stops at Foster Street in Evanston. Here, NSL had its own platform to keep passengers from transferring to the "L" without paying another fare. The stairs descended to a free area. It was not necessary to have a similar platform for northbound riders, as North Shore Line conductors would check tickets on the train.

On September 9, 1952, a southbound North Shore Line train, running via the Shore Line Route, stops at Foster Street in Evanston. Here, NSL had its own platform to keep passengers from transferring to the “L” without paying another fare. The stairs descended to a free area. It was not necessary to have a similar platform for northbound riders, as North Shore Line conductors would check tickets on the train.

A view from the 15th floor of the YMCA Hotel on Wabash Avenue on September 9, 1952.

A view from the 15th floor of the YMCA Hotel on Wabash Avenue on September 9, 1952.

Another view from the same location.

Another view from the same location.

From the door configuration, you can tell that this prewar Chicago PCC has been converted to one-man operation. It is running on Route 4 - Cottage Grove in this blow-up of the previous image.

From the door configuration, you can tell that this prewar Chicago PCC has been converted to one-man operation. It is running on Route 4 – Cottage Grove in this blow-up of the previous image.

CTA work car L-203 and various PCCs parked behind South Shops on September 10, 1952.

CTA work car L-203 and various PCCs parked behind South Shops on September 10, 1952.

A CSL trailer being used as an office at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

A CSL trailer being used as an office at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

Here, one-man car 3266 is on the south side (Route 67). The car is at Harvard, heading westbound, and I believe the destination sign reads 79th and California. On the other hand, our resident south side expert M. E. writes: "In pict662.jpg , your caption says "I believe the destination sign reads 79th and California." No, it is 71st and California. Route 67 was known as 67th-69th-71st; abbreviated, just 69th, because that was the longest stretch. In fact, you might want to revise the caption to note that the photo is at 69th and Harvard."

Here, one-man car 3266 is on the south side (Route 67). The car is at Harvard, heading westbound, and I believe the destination sign reads 79th and California. On the other hand, our resident south side expert M. E. writes: “In pict662.jpg , your caption says “I believe the destination sign reads 79th and California.” No, it is 71st and California. Route 67 was known as 67th-69th-71st; abbreviated, just 69th, because that was the longest stretch. In fact, you might want to revise the caption to note that the photo is at 69th and Harvard.”

69th and Harvard today, looking east.

69th and Harvard today, looking east.

CTA 6193, a "169" or Broadway-State car, was built by Cummings in 1923. It was converted to one-man operation in 1949 and has suffered some damage in this September 10, 1952 view at South Shops.

CTA 6193, a “169” or Broadway-State car, was built by Cummings in 1923. It was converted to one-man operation in 1949 and has suffered some damage in this September 10, 1952 view at South Shops.

CTA 4314 and 4304 on the west side of South Shops, September 10, 1952. On the other hand, M. E. writes: "In pict664.jpg, you say "on the west side of South Shops." No, this has to be the east side of South Shops. That's because South Shops was on the east side of Vincennes, so its west side faced Vincennes. There is no Vincennes in this photo." We were just going by the information written in the negative envelope that came with this image, which turns out to be incorrect. Gosh darn those out-of-town photographers!!

CTA 4314 and 4304 on the west side of South Shops, September 10, 1952. On the other hand, M. E. writes: “In pict664.jpg, you say “on the west side of South Shops.” No, this has to be the east side of South Shops. That’s because South Shops was on the east side of Vincennes, so its west side faced Vincennes. There is no Vincennes in this photo.” We were just going by the information written in the negative envelope that came with this image, which turns out to be incorrect. Gosh darn those out-of-town photographers!!

CTA 4314 and 4304 on the east side of South Shops, September 10, 1952.

CTA 4314 and 4304 on the east side of South Shops, September 10, 1952.

CTA prewar PCC 4047 and postwar car 7038 at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

CTA prewar PCC 4047 and postwar car 7038 at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

Two CTA freight locos at South Shops, September 10, 1952.

Two CTA freight locos at South Shops, September 10, 1952.

A CTA freight loco, possibly L-201, at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

A CTA freight loco, possibly L-201, at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

A CTA wood car at 42nd Place, end of the Kenwood branch, during the 1950s. (Walter Broschart Photo)

A CTA wood car at 42nd Place, end of the Kenwood branch, during the 1950s. (Walter Broschart Photo)

A two car train of singles just north of Main Street in Evanston. #27 is the lead car.

A two car train of singles just north of Main Street in Evanston. #27 is the lead car.

A CTA single-car unit under wire on the Evanston branch, just north of Main Street. This might be car 47.

A CTA single-car unit under wire on the Evanston branch, just north of Main Street. This might be car 47.

A CTA single-car unit heads south from Isabella on the Evanston branch, sometime between 1961 and 1973.

A CTA single-car unit heads south from Isabella on the Evanston branch, sometime between 1961 and 1973.

A train of 4000s, signed for Jackson Park via the Subway, in 1947. If I am reading the sign correctly, this is 31st Street, a station the CTA closed in 1949. There was also apparently a Chicago White Sox home game when this picture was taken. M. E. writes: "pict673.jpg features a Jackson Park train at 31st St. Notice three tracks. The middle track was used, although I am unsure under what circumstances. One possibility that comes to mind is that the Kenwood line (until it became a shuttle out of Indiana Ave.) ran on this trackage into the Loop and up to Wilson. The Kenwood was a local. The Englewood and Jackson Park trains sometimes bypassed the Kenwood locals using the middle track. There were switches up and down the line to enable moving to and from the middle track. Another possibility is that at one point the North Shore ran trains south as far as 63rd and Dorchester (1400 East) on the Jackson Park line. Perhaps some CNS&M trains used the middle track. One impossibility is that the Englewood and Jackson Park trains used the middle track the whole way from south of Indiana Ave. to the Loop. I say this was not possible because all the stations on this line were on the outer sides of the outside tracks. I don't recall any Englewood or Jackson Park trains running express on the middle track along this stretch. By the way, prior to the 1949 changes, only the Jackson Park line ran north to Howard. The Englewood ran to Ravenswood (to Lawrence and Kimball)."

A train of 4000s, signed for Jackson Park via the Subway, in 1947. If I am reading the sign correctly, this is 31st Street, a station the CTA closed in 1949. There was also apparently a Chicago White Sox home game when this picture was taken. M. E. writes: “pict673.jpg features a Jackson Park train at 31st St. Notice three tracks. The middle track was used, although I am unsure under what circumstances. One possibility that comes to mind is that the Kenwood line (until it became a shuttle out of Indiana Ave.) ran on this trackage into the Loop and up to Wilson. The Kenwood was a local. The Englewood and Jackson Park trains sometimes bypassed the Kenwood locals using the middle track. There were switches up and down the line to enable moving to and from the middle track.
Another possibility is that at one point the North Shore ran trains south as far as 63rd and Dorchester (1400 East) on the Jackson Park line. Perhaps some CNS&M trains used the middle track.
One impossibility is that the Englewood and Jackson Park trains used the middle track the whole way from south of Indiana Ave. to the Loop. I say this was not possible because all the stations on this line were on the outer sides of the outside tracks. I don’t recall any Englewood or Jackson Park trains running express on the middle track along this stretch.
By the way, prior to the 1949 changes, only the Jackson Park line ran north to Howard. The Englewood ran to Ravenswood (to Lawrence and Kimball).”

A close-up of the previous picture.

A close-up of the previous picture.

North Shore Line city streetcar 509 in August 1941. Don's Rail Photos says, "509 was built by St Louis Car in 1909. It was rebuilt to one man and transferred to Waukegan on November 3, 1922. It was used as a waiting room at 10th Street, North Chicago, for a short time in 1947, until a new station could be built at the truncated north end of the Shore Line Route. It was sold for scrap in 1949."

North Shore Line city streetcar 509 in August 1941. Don’s Rail Photos says, “509 was built by St Louis Car in 1909. It was rebuilt to one man and transferred to Waukegan on November 3, 1922. It was used as a waiting room at 10th Street, North Chicago, for a short time in 1947, until a new station could be built at the truncated north end of the Shore Line Route. It was sold for scrap in 1949.”

North Shore Line wood car 304, built by American Car in 1910, as it looked in June 1938. It became a sleet cutter in 1939 and was scrapped the following year.

North Shore Line wood car 304, built by American Car in 1910, as it looked in June 1938. It became a sleet cutter in 1939 and was scrapped the following year.

Gary Railways 19 at Indiana Harbor on May 1, 1938 during the very first fantrip of Central Electric Railfans' Association. This car was built by Cummings in 1927. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)

Gary Railways 19 at Indiana Harbor on May 1, 1938 during the very first fantrip of Central Electric Railfans’ Association. This car was built by Cummings in 1927. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)

Gary Railways 22 on May 10, 1940.

Gary Railways 22 on May 10, 1940.

Gary Railways 21 in 1938, signed for 22nd Avenue. It was built by Cummings in 1927.

Gary Railways 21 in 1938, signed for 22nd Avenue. It was built by Cummings in 1927.

Northern Indiana Railways 216 in South Bend, Indiana on June 25, 1939. The occasion was Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip #9, which brought people here via the South Shore Line. This deck roof car was built by Kuhlman in 1923.

Northern Indiana Railways 216 in South Bend, Indiana on June 25, 1939. The occasion was Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip #9, which brought people here via the South Shore Line. This deck roof car was built by Kuhlman in 1923.

Gary Railways 5, a 1925 Kuhlman product, is shown at Indiana Harbor on May 1, 1938, date of the very first Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)

Gary Railways 5, a 1925 Kuhlman product, is shown at Indiana Harbor on May 1, 1938, date of the very first Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)

Here, we see New Castle Electric Street Railway 352 in Grant Street at the Erie/B&O/P&LE station in New Castle, PA on August 24, 1941. This was a Birney car, a 1919 National product that, to these eyes, reminds me of the Osgood-Bradley Electromobiles of ten years later. All streetcar service in this area was discontinued on December 11, 1941. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Here, we see New Castle Electric Street Railway 352 in Grant Street at the Erie/B&O/P&LE station in New Castle, PA on August 24, 1941. This was a Birney car, a 1919 National product that, to these eyes, reminds me of the Osgood-Bradley Electromobiles of ten years later. All streetcar service in this area was discontinued on December 11, 1941. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

The Queensboro Bridge trolley, which last ran on April 7, 1957, making it New York City's final (to date) streetcar. Our new audio collection has a "mystery track" on it that may or may not be the Queensboro Bridge trolley. You be the judge. It takes a serious railfan to distinguish an Osgood Bradley Electromobile, as we see here, from the very similar Brill Master Unit. Parts from sister car 601 are now being used to help the Electric City Trolley Museum Association restore Scranton Transit car 505.

The Queensboro Bridge trolley, which last ran on April 7, 1957, making it New York City’s final (to date) streetcar. Our new audio collection has a “mystery track” on it that may or may not be the Queensboro Bridge trolley. You be the judge.
It takes a serious railfan to distinguish an Osgood Bradley Electromobile, as we see here, from the very similar Brill Master Unit. Parts from sister car 601 are now being used to help the Electric City Trolley Museum Association restore Scranton Transit car 505.

Indianapolis Railways 175 was a Brill "Master Unit" built in 1934. These were among the last cars built by Brill prior to the pre-PCCs. Brill's idea behind the "Master Unit" was to create a standardized car, but as it turned out, no two orders placed were exactly alike.

Indianapolis Railways 175 was a Brill “Master Unit” built in 1934. These were among the last cars built by Brill prior to the pre-PCCs. Brill’s idea behind the “Master Unit” was to create a standardized car, but as it turned out, no two orders placed were exactly alike.

North Shore Line city streetcar 352 at Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee, June 1941.

North Shore Line city streetcar 352 at Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee, June 1941.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co. (aka Red Arrow) 13, a 1949 product of St. Louis Car Co., in side-of-the-road operation on West Chester Pike, June 2, 1954. Buses replaced trolleys a few days later to allow for the widening of this important thoroughfare.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co. (aka Red Arrow) 13, a 1949 product of St. Louis Car Co., in side-of-the-road operation on West Chester Pike, June 2, 1954. Buses replaced trolleys a few days later to allow for the widening of this important thoroughfare.

Here, Red Arrow 61 approaches the 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, sometime in the 1930s. Car 61 was a Brill product from about 1927. Note the man wearing a straw hat, which is something people used to do on hot days.

Here, Red Arrow 61 approaches the 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, sometime in the 1930s. Car 61 was a Brill product from about 1927. Note the man wearing a straw hat, which is something people used to do on hot days.

North Shore Line car 760 in Milwaukee. Don's Rail Photos says: "760 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930. It was modernized in 1945 and rebuilt as (a) Silverliner on September 23, 1952." Since photographer LaMar M. Kelley died on January 5, 1948 (see below), this picture cannot be later than that date.

North Shore Line car 760 in Milwaukee. Don’s Rail Photos says: “760 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930. It was modernized in 1945 and rebuilt as (a) Silverliner on September 23, 1952.” Since photographer LaMar M. Kelley died on January 5, 1948 (see below), this picture cannot be later than that date.

We don't often know much about the people who took some of these historic photographs. But here is an obituary of LaMar M. Kelley appeared in the February 1948 issue of Central Headlight, an employee publication of the New York Central railroad. I also found this online (even though it gets the date wrong): "Lamar M. Kelly (d. 1947) of Elkhart IN worked as a helper at the sand house and coal pockets at Elkhart . He was crippled by polio and devoted most his time to rail photography. He traded negatives with Jerry Best who considered Kelley's work to be of varied quality. Kelley died suddenly in a workplace accident in 1947. His negative collection was sold piecemeal." I object to the author's use of the word "crippled," which implies limitations in someone's life that are more than just physical disabilities. Personally, I think LaMar M. Kelley's photography was quite good, and that he led a life of great accomplishment in his 50 short years.

We don’t often know much about the people who took some of these historic photographs. But here is an obituary of LaMar M. Kelley appeared in the February 1948 issue of Central Headlight, an employee publication of the New York Central railroad. I also found this online (even though it gets the date wrong): “Lamar M. Kelly (d. 1947) of Elkhart IN worked as a helper at the sand house and coal pockets at Elkhart . He was crippled by polio and devoted most his time to rail photography. He traded negatives with Jerry Best who considered Kelley’s work to be of varied quality. Kelley died suddenly in a workplace accident in 1947. His negative collection was sold piecemeal.” I object to the author’s use of the word “crippled,” which implies limitations in someone’s life that are more than just physical disabilities. Personally, I think LaMar M. Kelley’s photography was quite good, and that he led a life of great accomplishment in his 50 short years.

"View of two passenger interurban cars on side track for local southbound loading at Edison Court, Waukegan, Ill. Note sign on post, "Save Your North Shore Line." Photo taken circa 1960 by Richard H. Young. Ultimately, these efforts failed, but the demise of the North Shore Line (and the Chicago Aurora & Elgin) helped spur the Federal Government into action to begin subsidizing transit across the country.

“View of two passenger interurban cars on side track for local southbound loading at Edison Court, Waukegan, Ill. Note sign on post, “Save Your North Shore Line.” Photo taken circa 1960 by Richard H. Young. Ultimately, these efforts failed, but the demise of the North Shore Line (and the Chicago Aurora & Elgin) helped spur the Federal Government into action to begin subsidizing transit across the country.

As new streetcar tracks are being laid in Milwaukee, it is important to know what we once had that was lost. Here, the North Shore Line terminal in downtown Milwaukee is being reduced to rubble in 1964, a year after passenger service ended. If only we could have found some way to keep what we had, we wouldn't now need to build so much. An important lesson in life-- it is better to create than it is to destroy.

As new streetcar tracks are being laid in Milwaukee, it is important to know what we once had that was lost. Here, the North Shore Line terminal in downtown Milwaukee is being reduced to rubble in 1964, a year after passenger service ended. If only we could have found some way to keep what we had, we wouldn’t now need to build so much. An important lesson in life– it is better to create than it is to destroy.

Recent Correspondence

Jack Bejna writes:

Here’s the latest. The Chicago Aurora & Elgin Railway ordered 5 cars to be built by the G C Kuhlman Car Company in 1909, numbered 311-315. The wood siding extended down to cover the previously exposed side sill channel, enhancing the look of these classic beauties.

The final wooden car order was placed with the Jewett Car Company in 1914 for six cars numbered 316-321. Car 318 was unique, with the sides being steel up to the belt line, the only wood car built this way. In the 1920s cars 319-321 were upgraded with more powerful motors and thereafter they were used together and/or with trailers.

I don’t know how you manage to put out an interesting, informative post every month, so thanks again for your website and all of the interesting stories within.

And we, in turn, really enjoy seeing these wonderful pictures that you have managed to make look better than ever, using all your skills and hard work.

Larry Sakar writes:

Hi Dave,

I just returned from my 6500 mile Amtrak trip to San Francisco, LA & Portland. I took the Hiawatha from Milwaukee to Chicago and connected to #5 the California Zephyr. Spent 2 days in SFO then took train 710 the San Joaquin to Bakersfield where they bus you to LA. The bus takes I-5 for most of the 100 mile trip to LA. As we got close to LA we were coming into Glendale and looking to my right I saw the abandoned PE r.o.w. where it crossed Fletcher Dr. There’s a picture that has been reproduced numerous times of a 3 car train of PCC’s crossing the bridge over Fletcher Dr. I thought the abandoned North Shore Line r.o.w. here in Milwaukee was high up but the PE r.o.w. is twice as high. The LA Downtown Hotel where I stayed was a block away from what used to be the Subway Terminal Bldg. at 4th & Hill.

When I was leaving the next day I rode the Red Cap’s motorized vehicle to the platform from the Metropolitan lounge. the lounge which is exclusively for 1st Class (sleeping car) passengers is on the second floor of LAUPT (Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal). They travel down a ramp and in the process cross the light rail tracks. We had to stop at the crossing for the passage of a Gold Line train headed to Pasadena and Cucamonga. Bit by bit LA is rebuilding the PE at a cost of billions! So far lines to Long Beach, Pasadena and Santa Monica have been rebuilt. Light rail has become very big in LA.

Two days later on my way back to Portland Union Station my taxi was traveling eight alongside a Portland MAX light rail train. In SFO the F-Line streetcars to Fisherman’s Wharf were packed to the rafters. Articulated buses were operating in place of the JKLM & N light rail lines that run in the Market St. subway. The new cars that are replacing the present BREDA cars were being tested. Saw BART when the Zephyr stopped in Richmond, CA. I know they have new cars coming but they don’t appear to be there as yet. BART is experiencing a significant increase in crime on its lines. Same holds true for Portland. In fact the Portland city council voted to ban anyone convicted of a serious crime on any of its light rail lines, buses or the Portland streetcar for life.

Coming home from Portland on the Portland section of the Empire Builder we heard that the previous day’s train was hit at a crossing (don’t know where) by a water truck. The 24 year old driver smashed thru the crossing gates and slammed into the second Genesis engine destroying it, the baggage car and part of the Superliner crew car behind it. No one was injured, luckily. The cause of the accident was the truck driver texting on his cell phone and not paying attention to driving. He’ll have lots of time to text now as I’m sure he’ll be fired. He’ll lose his CDL (Commercial Drivers License) and I’m sure the trucking company’s insurance carrier will be suing him for the damages they have to pay to Amtrak.

The day I was heading up the California coast from LA to Portland our train was held for almost an hour at LA for late connecting San Diego to LA (Pacific Surfliner) train 763 which is a guaranteed connection to #14. The train hit and killed some guy who was walking on the tracks north of San Diego and south of San Juan Capistrano.

It was a great trip and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Thanks for sharing!

FYI, Larry Sakar comments:

Hi Dave,

Fantastic posts! Those poor CA&E cars died a slow death rotting away in Wheaton yards until everything was finally scrapped in 1961.

I enjoyed the aerial shots of Canal St. station on the Metropolitan “L” (CTA). It’s not a station that seems to have been photographed a lot but there is a giant wall-sized shot of it on display in the Clinton St. CTA blue line subway station which replaced it. In the days of the “Met” there was a passageway from the south end of Union Station to the “L”. It’s still there and I understand it leads to the present day parking garage south of the station.

In the caption for that shot of the 2 car train of 4000’s on the Lake St. “L”, I don’t think the Lake St. “L” goes to Forest Park. The Green Line as it’s known today ends in Oak Park unless it’s been extended.

Looking at that North Shore Line city car photo I’d guess that is somewhere in Waukegan – Merchant’s curve perhaps? The only place in Milwaukee that had that kind of a curve was where the NSL went between 5th & 6th Sts. None of the buildings in this photo seem to match the ones that were along that curve. The curve was reconstructed after the NSL quit and is now the way you get on to southbound I-94 at Greenfield Ave. The factory building seen in so many of the photos of NSL trains on that curve still stands. Some sort of auto repair facility has been built in front of it. I just rode over that curve last Saturday in the taxi that was taking me home from the Milwaukee Intermodal station downtown. Here’s a Bob Genack photo I have showing that curve. Larry Sakar

Thanks… actually, the Lake Street “L” ground-level operation did cross Harlem Avenue into Forest Park, and there was actually a station there a short distance west which was technically the end of the line.  But few people got on there, the great majority using Marion Street instead.  The Harlem station on the embankment has entrances at Marion and on the west side of Harlem, and thus serves both Oak Park and Forest Park.

An Early History of the Railroad Record Club

Kenneth Gear and I have some new theories about the early history of the Railroad Record Club. This is based on careful study of the new material featured in our recent post Railroad Record Club Treasure Hunt (July 30, 2017).

One of the homemade 78 rpm records Ken recently bought was marked as having William A. Steventon‘s first recordings. These were dated March 24, 1953.

In a 1958 newspaper interview, Steventon said his wife had given him a tape recorder for Christmas in 1953. He probably meant to say 1952, and it took him a few months to get used to operating it.

Steventon always said that the club started in 1953. However, this seemed odd since he did not issue his first 10″ 33 1/3 rpm records until some years later. The 36 numbered discs came out at the rate of four per year from 1958 through 1966.

There was an Introductory Record, which was probably issued in 1957, and a few “special” releases, the most notable of which (SP-4) documents an entire 1962 trip of the South South Shore Line in real time on three 12″ discs as a box set. That was Steventon’s masterpiece.

In 1967, RCA Custom Records closed up shop, and it was not until some years later that Steventon began reissuing some of his recordings on 12″, using a different pressing plant in Nashville. But what was the Railroad Record Club doing from 1953 through 56?

Apparently, during those years, Steventon was distributing 78 rpm records made using a portable disc cutter. These had been available for home use starting in about 1929, and were often used to record things off the radio.

A few enterprising individuals like the late Jerry Newman took such machines to jazz clubs. This is how he made several recordings of Charlie Christian jamming at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem in 1941.

In similar fashion, a portable disc cutter was used to record Duke Ellington and his Orchestra in Fargo, North Dakota in 1940. You can read about that here.

While Steventon was using a tape recorder, made portable by being hooked up to an auto battery, tape was not yet an effective way to distribute recordings in 1953. Very few people had such machines.

But most people did have record players, and the standard format of the time was 78 rpm, which yielded at most five minutes per side on 10″ aluminum discs covered with acetate. “Long Playing” 33 1/3 rpm records were a new format, just beginning to gain popularity.

No doubt Steventon dated the RRC’s beginnings to 1953, since that is when he began making recordings, but it is alsolikely that is when he started distributing them. Using a homemade disc cutter meant the records were made in real time. As things gained in popularity, this would have taken up more and more of his time.

To distill much longer recordings to fit the five minute limit, Steventon spliced together all sorts of bits and pieces, and recorded brief introductions later, to tell listeners what they were about to hear.

Some of the homemade discs that Ken purchased have numbers on them. Others have stamped titles, which would indicate to me that Steventon was making them in quantity, and had rubber stamps made for the most popular titles.

These early records were distributed using a number sequence that is totally different than the later one adopted for the 10″ records issued in 1958 or later. Here is a partial list of these early releases:

01. Potomac Edison (aka Hagerstown & Frederick)
02. Shenandoah Central
03. Capital Transit
04. Johnstown Traction
05. Altoona & Logan Valley
06. Baltimore & Ohio
07. Shaker Heights Rapid Transit
08. Claude Mahoney Radio Program about NRHS fantrip (1953)
09. Pennsylvania Railroad
10. Nickel Plate Road
11. St. Louis Public Service
15. Baltimore Transit
16. Norfolk & Western
17. Western Maryland Railway
22. East Broad Top
24. Chicago & Illinois Midland

In this period (1953-55), Steventon was living in Washington, D.C., so many of his recordings were made in that area. He was originally from Mount Carmel, Illinois, which is near the Indiana border. That explains his Hoosier accent as heard on his introductions.

Over time, Steventon branched out, making recordings in other cities when he was on vacation. Regarding his traction recordings, he generally preferred to tape the older equipment, since these made all the right noises. It was more difficult to make successful recordings of PCC cars, since they were much quieter by design, but he did do some.

The success of these records surely inspired Steventon to have records made in quantity by a pressing plant, the RCA Custom Records Division. By 1957, the 33 1/3 rpm format had become the norm, and this permitted about 15 minutes per side on a 10″ record. The resulting disc could hold as much sound as three of the 78s, and weighed a lot less, saving on postage.

Eventually, Steventon began including detailed liner notes with his records, and largely abandoned the spoken introductions.

The 1958 newspaper article mentioned above said that Steventon had sold 1000 records in the previous year. Without his previous experience with homemade records, it is unlikely that Steventon would have records pressed commercially.

We have now cleaned up and digitized many of these early recordings, which are now available under the title Railroad Record Club Rarities. The Traction recordings fill two discs, and the Steam and Diesel tracks are on a single disc. More details are below.

Sometimes, in the absence of written records, or spoken introductions, it is only possible to identify certain recordings through a bit of detective work. As an example, on one recording, the only clues we have are Steventon’s brief mention of riding cars 80 and 83.

This narrows down considerably the list of possible locations. The most likely is the Philadelphia Suburban Transporation Company, also known as the Red Arrow Lines. Cars 80 and 83, which fortunately have survived, were 1932 Brill-built “Master Units.”

We know that Steventon made recordings of similar cars. On one of the Altoona discs, he even refers to an Osgood Bradley Electromobile at one point as a “Master Unit.”

Car 80 still runs to this day at the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton, PA., so there are YouTube recordings that I compared with this one. They sound very much the same.

Finally, the Steventon recording shows cars 80 and 83 running at speed, frequently blowing the horn, very much in interurban mode. The longest Red Arrow route, and the most interurban in character, was the West Chester line, which was largely side-of-the-road operation along West Chester Pike.

The final trolley trips on West Chester took place on June 6, 1954. We have written about this before– see Red Arrow in West Chester, September 13, 2016. Buses replaced trolleys so that West chester Pike could be widened.

The National Railway Historical Society held a fantrip after the last revenue runs were made. We know that Steventon participated in NRHS events, since one of the 78 rpm records he distributed features a radio program that discusses a 1953 NRHS excursion.

So, the most logical conclusion is that this rare recording was made by Steventon in 1953 or 1954, and documents the Red Arrow line to West Chester. This recording is included on Railroad Record Club Rarities – Traction.

While we are happy to report that we have finally achieved our long-sought goal of digitizing the Railroad Record Club’s later output, it seems very likely there are still more of these early recordings waiting to be discovered.

-David Sadowski

Now Available on Compact Disc

RRC-RT
Railroad Record Club Rarities – Traction!
# of Discs – 2
Price: $19.95

Railroad Record Club Rarities – Traction!
These are rare recordings, which date to 1953-55 and predate the 10″ LPs later issued by the Railroad Record Club. Many are previously unissued, and some are available here in a different (and longer) format than later releases, often including William A. Steventon’s spoken introductions. We have used the best available sources, and while some recordings sound excellent, others have some imperfections. But all are rare, rare, rare!

Includes Altoona & Logan Valley, Baltimore Transit, Capital Transit (Washington D.C.), Johnstown Traction, Pennsylvania GG-1s, Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Red Arrow, St. Louis Public Service, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, and South Shore Line Electric Freight.

Total time – 149:52


RRC-RSD
Railroad Record Club Rarities – Steam and Diesel!
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Railroad Record Club Rarities – Steam and Diesel
These are rare recordings, made by William A. Steventon between 1953 and 1955, and include his earliest recordings. These predate the regular output of the Railroad Record Club. Many are previously unissued, and some are available here in a different (and longer) format than later releases, often including William A. Steventon’s spoken introductions. In general, audio quality is good, but some recordings have imperfections. However, the best available sources have been used, and you won’t find them anywhere else. Much of this material has not been heard in over 60 years.

Includes: Baltimore & Ohio, Chicago & Illinois Midland, East Broad Top, Illinois Central, Nickel Plate road, Pennsylvania Railroad, Shenadoah Central, and even a 1953 radio broadcast by Claude Mahoney that discusses an NRHS fantrip.

Total time – 69:36


RRC #22 and 31
Buffalo Creek & Gauley
Sound Scrapbook – Steam!
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Railroad Record Club #22 and 31:

The Buffalo Creek and Gauley Railroad (BC&G) was a railroad chartered on April 1, 1904 and ran along Buffalo Creek in Clay County, West Virginia. The original Buffalo Creek and Gauley ended service in 1965.

The BC&G was one of the last all-steam railroads, never operating a diesel locomotive to the day it shut down in 1965. Its primary purpose was to bring coal out of the mountains above Widen to an interchange with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at Dundon. These recordings were made in 1960.

Sound Scrapbook – Steam! covers several different steam railroads, including Canadian National, National Railways of Mexico, McCloud River Railway, Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, Westside Lumber Company, Duluth Missabe & Iron Range, and Pickering Lumber Corp.

Total time – 62:43


RRC #32, Sampler for Years 3 & 4, and Steam Whistles and Bells
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

RRC #32, Sampler for Years 3 & 4, and Steam Whistles and Bells
This disc features the New York Central, recorded in 1954-55. It’s mainly steam, but with some diesel. In addition, the Railroad Record Club Sampler for years 3 and 4 includes selections from discs 9 through 16. Finally, we have included a very rare circa 1955 recording, Steam Whistles and Bells, which covers several properties across the country.

Total time – 72:07


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.)

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.

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 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

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. 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

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This is our 191st 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 311,000 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.

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

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.

Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

One Good Turn

Here, we see one-man CTA 3150(?) and its operator at the east end of route 21 on Cermak and Prairie Avenue in June 1951. Prairie Avenue was also the location of the local Kodak processing plant, which handled Kodachrome until the early 1980s.

Here, we see one-man CTA 3150(?) and its operator at the east end of route 21 on Cermak and Prairie Avenue in June 1951. Prairie Avenue was also the location of the local Kodak processing plant, which handled Kodachrome until the early 1980s.

“One good turn deserves another.” Or at least, that is how the saying goes.

We started this blog on January 21, 2015, so this post (our 173rd) is the last one for our full second year. When we started, we had no clue what the reaction would be. But, we had to believe that some good would come from sharing our transit photos and information with you.

Our experience from the past two years has shown this very much to be the case. As we have shared our information, others have come forward to share theirs with us. We have reached an audience, and our continued growth demonstrates that railfan interest is growing, not shrinking.

Now, we are being contacted by more and more researchers, who are using us as a resource for their own work.

Another word that comes to mind is “sustainability.” I don’t consider this a commercial site, since everything here is free for all to enjoy. But it does take both time and resources to keep providing you with a steady stream of high-quality images.

We are happy to put in the time, but resources are always limited.  As a general rule, for each image you see here, it probably costs us $10 to bring that to you. That is the average cost of a print, negative, or slide, including the shipping. Some images cost more, some less.

When you have as many as 40 or 50 high-quality images in a single post, you can see how that can add up in a real hurry.  Every little bit we can raise helps.

Often there is one and only one opportunity to purchase these images. Collections come to market, often when the original photographer or collector has unfortunately died, and their images are sold off one at a time and scattered to the four winds. If you see something unique, and pass on the opportunity to acquire it, you may never see it again.

Such are opportunities are fleeting.

So there has always been a gap between the images that we get to share with you, and the ones that we could if we only had the resources. Our goal is to make this gap as small as possible.

Luckily, some people have shared images with us, and we appreciate it. But as much as we may try, soliciting donations and offering items for sale in our Online Store, this blog still runs a substantial deficit.

Now, it may come to pass that this will always be so, but it is our goal to make The Trolley Dodger a “sustainable” enterprise, for now and the future. That will give us the best chance to keep it going.

We are encouraged by the response to our last post, where we asked for donations to help pay our domain registration and web site upkeep costs for the coming year. We received more than enough money for the costs that come due on February 3rd. So we will be here for another year, and thank everyone who so generously contributed.

We used the additional funds we received to pay for some of the images you see in today’s post.

Meanwhile, we are quickly coming up on the deadline to finish our new book Chicago Trolleys. This will be our own modest contribution to the slim shelf of books about Chicago’s once-great streetcar system.

Some fantastic images have come up for sale recently, which would make tremendous additions to the book. Once finished, chances are it won’t get revised or updated again for a long time.

We want this book, which will include about 215 classic back-and-white pictures, to be the best that it can be. With the help of your donations and purchases, we can make this dream a reality.

Chicago Trolleys is expected to be published later this year.  We will keep you posted on our progress.

Meanwhile, here is another batch of classic images of Chicago streetcars. And, as always, we hope that this will be “one good turn” that “deserves another,” and not just “another fine mess.”

Thanks.

-David Sadowski

PS- Our next post, the first for our third year, will feature all three great Chicago interurbans. Watch this space.

It's August 17, 1956, and southbound PCC 7192 is about to stop at a safety island at Clark and Armitage. (Joseph M. Canfield Photo)

It’s August 17, 1956, and southbound PCC 7192 is about to stop at a safety island at Clark and Armitage. (Joseph M. Canfield Photo)

On august 21, 1956, PCC 7215 turns from Broadway onto Devon, as a northbound route 36 car with the North Side "L" in the background. (Joseph M. Canfield Photo)

On August 21, 1956, PCC 7215 turns from Broadway onto Devon, as a northbound route 36 car with the North Side “L” in the background. (Joseph M. Canfield Photo)

The "Broadway Downtown" sign on this car, and the appearance of the autos in the background, would probably indicate that this picture was taken circa 1956. The south portion of the route 36 Broadway-State Through Route was bussed on December 3, 1955, and the remaining half on February 16, 1957.

The “Broadway Downtown” sign on this car, and the appearance of the autos in the background, would probably indicate that this picture was taken circa 1956. The south portion of the route 36 Broadway-State Through Route was bussed on December 3, 1955, and the remaining half on February 16, 1957.

Prewar PCC 4012 on Cottage Grove in 1952. Jack Fuller adds, "The Green Hornet view along Route 4, Cottage Grove is actually at 99th Street. This is the only opening under the Illinois Central tracks between 95th Street and 103rd Street." (C. R. Scholes Photo)

Prewar PCC 4012 on Cottage Grove in 1952. Jack Fuller adds, “The Green Hornet view along Route 4, Cottage Grove is actually at 99th Street. This is the only opening under the Illinois Central tracks between 95th Street and 103rd Street.” (C. R. Scholes Photo)

This birds-eye view of CTA 1744 was taken from the Pulaski Road "L" station on the Garfield Park branch in April 1950. However, what we are looking at may actually be a Madison-Fifth car at the west end of its route, ready to loop back via Pulaski and Harrison. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This image is looking E-N/E on Fifth Ave from the Garfield Pk 'L'...no question about it. The intersection behind the streetcar is Harrison."

This birds-eye view of CTA 1744 was taken from the Pulaski Road “L” station on the Garfield Park branch in April 1950. However, what we are looking at may actually be a Madison-Fifth car at the west end of its route, ready to loop back via Pulaski and Harrison. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This image is looking E-N/E on Fifth Ave from the Garfield Pk ‘L’…no question about it. The intersection behind the streetcar is Harrison.”

CTA one-man car 1778 heads west on Lake in May 1954, shorty before route 16 was bussed. Kevin Doerksen adds, "I believe that One-man car 1778 is actually looking East on Lake at Ogden/Loomis. The building on the right hand side is right at the corner of Loomis and Lake. It’s also under threat of demolition, I believe." Daniel Joseph: "I believe this photo is at Lake Street at Randolph at Justine. Ogden did not have car tracks north of Randolph but Randolph went northwest along Union Park with (car tracks) connecting with Lake."

CTA one-man car 1778 heads west on Lake in May 1954, shorty before route 16 was bussed. Kevin Doerksen adds, “I believe that One-man car 1778 is actually looking East on Lake at Ogden/Loomis. The building on the right hand side is right at the corner of Loomis and Lake. It’s also under threat of demolition, I believe.” Daniel Joseph: “I believe this photo is at Lake Street at Randolph at Justine. Ogden did not have car tracks north of Randolph but Randolph went northwest along Union Park with (car tracks) connecting with Lake.”

CTA one-man car 1760 on Cermak at the CB&Q (Burlington) tracks on March 21, 1954.

CTA one-man car 1760 on Cermak at the CB&Q (Burlington) tracks on March 21, 1954.

CTA 6141 at Navy Pier in June 1951. This was the location of the University of Illinois Chicago campus until it moved to its present home about 15 years later.

CTA 6141 at Navy Pier in June 1951. This was the location of the University of Illinois Chicago campus until it moved to its present home about 15 years later.

CTA 6177 at Cermak and Clark in March 1950 on route 21.

CTA 6177 at Cermak and Clark in March 1950 on route 21.

CTA 3178 on Cermak in April 1950. We sometimes get a late snow like this here in Chicago. The billboard advertises "squint-free, strain free" Hoffman TVs.

CTA 3178 on Cermak in April 1950. We sometimes get a late snow like this here in Chicago. The billboard advertises “squint-free, strain free” Hoffman TVs.

CTA 201 at the Lawndale Station (car barn) in May 1951. Later, this became the home for the CTA's collection of historic streetcars, until they were dispersed to museums in the mid-1980s. Jeff Weiner notes, "Ah, the Lawndale barn. It was inactive when I surveyed Ogden, Pulaski, and Cermak for signal modernization in the early 2000’s, and has since been torn down. The City put in sidewalks, curb and gutter, and you’d never know that a carbarn had been there."

CTA 201 at the Lawndale Station (car barn) in May 1951. Later, this became the home for the CTA’s collection of historic streetcars, until they were dispersed to museums in the mid-1980s. Jeff Weiner notes, “Ah, the Lawndale barn. It was inactive when I surveyed Ogden, Pulaski, and Cermak for signal modernization in the early 2000’s, and has since been torn down. The City put in sidewalks, curb and gutter, and you’d never know that a carbarn had been there.”

CTA 4084 at 81st and Wallace on March 24, 1954 on route 22. By this time, Pullman PCCs were fast disappearing as they were scrapped for parts recycling into new rapid transit cars. There is a picture of another car at this location on page 233 of CERA Bulletin 146.

CTA 4084 at 81st and Wallace on March 24, 1954 on route 22. By this time, Pullman PCCs were fast disappearing as they were scrapped for parts recycling into new rapid transit cars. There is a picture of another car at this location on page 233 of CERA Bulletin 146.

CTA 4063 at Cermak and Clark on April 11, 1954. There was a jog on route 22, where cars went between Clark and Wentworth.

CTA 4063 at Cermak and Clark on April 11, 1954. There was a jog on route 22, where cars went between Clark and Wentworth.

CTA 7266 on Clark at around 15th on Apri 11, 1954, about ready to go under the St. Charles Air Line.

CTA 7266 on Clark at around 15th on April 11, 1954, about ready to go under the St. Charles Air Line.

CTA 692 at the Museum Loop in May 1950. This extension of the Roosevelt Road line was built for the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair (A Century of Progress).

CTA 692 at the Museum Loop in May 1950. This extension of the Roosevelt Road line was built for the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair (A Century of Progress).

One-man car 1722 is on Washington at LaSalle in downtown Chicago, running route 58 (Ogden). George Foelschow: "Red car 1722 is westbound on Washington Street at LaSalle Street. The building on the left with arches and bay windows is genius starchitect Louis Sullivan’s Stock Exchange Building now, sadly, demolished. Photographer Richard Nickel was killed when documenting demolition and the floor above him collapsed. The stock trading room as well as the main entrance were saved and can be visited at the Art Institute." Kevin Doerksen: "One-man car 1722 is on Washington. The Chicago Eye, Ear Nose and Throat Hospital, pictured in the background, was located at 258 W Washington (at Franklin)."

One-man car 1722 is on Washington at LaSalle in downtown Chicago, running route 58 (Ogden). George Foelschow: “Red car 1722 is westbound on Washington Street at LaSalle Street. The building on the left with arches and bay windows is genius starchitect Louis Sullivan’s Stock Exchange Building now, sadly, demolished. Photographer Richard Nickel was killed when documenting demolition and the floor above him collapsed. The stock trading room as well as the main entrance were saved and can be visited at the Art Institute.” Kevin Doerksen: “One-man car 1722 is on Washington. The Chicago Eye, Ear Nose and Throat Hospital, pictured in the background, was located at 258 W Washington (at Franklin).”

CTA 1758, at the east end of route 16, has just turned from Lake onto Dearborn circa 1953, while a train of 6000s roars overhead.

CTA 1758, at the east end of route 16, has just turned from Lake onto Dearborn circa 1953, while a train of 6000s roars overhead.

Circa 1952, a CTA red Pullman passes a Pullman PCC on temporary trackage at Halsted and Congress, during expressway construction.

Circa 1952, a CTA red Pullman passes a Pullman PCC on temporary trackage at Halsted and Congress, during expressway construction.

CTA 225 is on Roosevelt near State in Apri1 1951. This car is now preserved at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine.

CTA 225 is on Roosevelt near State in Apri1 1951. This car is now preserved at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine.

CTA 1760 at Cermak and Kenton, west end of route 21, on March 21, 1954. This was the city limits. When the nearby Douglas Park "L" was cut back to 54th Avenue in 1952, CTA began running an "interurban" bus west of here. Bus route 21 now goes all the way to the North Riverside Mall, just west of Harlem Avenue.

CTA 1760 at Cermak and Kenton, west end of route 21, on March 21, 1954. This was the city limits. When the nearby Douglas Park “L” was cut back to 54th Avenue in 1952, CTA began running an “interurban” bus west of here. Bus route 21 now goes all the way to the North Riverside Mall, just west of Harlem Avenue.

CTA 3153 is turning from Pine onto Lake Street in January 1952, crossing ground-level tracks of the Lake Street "L". These were elevated onto the nearby embankment in 1962.

CTA 3153 is turning from Pine onto Lake Street in January 1952, crossing ground-level tracks of the Lake Street “L”. These were elevated onto the nearby embankment in 1962.

CTA 4317 on State Street near the Loop in March 1952.

CTA 4317 on State Street near the Loop in March 1952.

This is not a very sharp photograph, but CTA 4242, shown here in November 1950, may be on Halsted, having just crossed the Chicago River.

This is not a very sharp photograph, but CTA 4242, shown here in November 1950, may be on Halsted, having just crossed the Chicago River.

CTA 4392 is at the south end of route 36 on March 21, 1954, somewhere in the vicinity of 120th and Morgan. CTA had plans to build a new off-street loop for these cars at 115th and Michigan, which would have eliminated this portion of the route, but such was never built before streetcar service ended.

CTA 4392 is at the south end of route 36 on March 21, 1954, somewhere in the vicinity of 120th and Morgan. CTA had plans to build a new off-street loop for these cars at 115th and Michigan, which would have eliminated this portion of the route, but such was never built before streetcar service ended.

CTA 4067 at 120th and Halsted on March 21, 1954, near the south end of route 36.

CTA 4067 at 120th and Halsted on March 21, 1954, near the south end of route 36.

This was a tough one to figure out, but my best guess is we are on Halsted looking north just south of 119th. The route 36 PCC 7264 is turning east onto 119th on March 21, 1954, making a jog from 120th. Under the gas sign, you can just barely see a small part of the gateman's tower at this location. Route 8 Halsted PCCs ony ran as far south as 79th.

This was a tough one to figure out, but my best guess is we are on Halsted looking north just south of 119th. The route 36 PCC 7264 is turning east onto 119th on March 21, 1954, making a jog from 120th. Under the gas sign, you can just barely see a small part of the gateman’s tower at this location. Route 8 Halsted PCCs ony ran as far south as 79th.

The same location today.

The same location today.

This is the view on 119th looking east at Hasted. This is shown in the top picture on page 292 of CERA Bulletin 146. The building at left is the same as in that earlier picture.

This is the view on 119th looking east at Hasted. This is shown in the top picture on page 292 of CERA Bulletin 146. The building at left is the same as in that earlier picture.

This enlargement from the 1952 CTA supervisor's track map shows how route 36 streetcars turned around at 120th and Morgan and where they crossed various railroad tracks. The track at an angle was the old PRR "Panhandle" route that went between Chicago and Logansport, Indiana. It was abandoned in the Conrail days.

This enlargement from the 1952 CTA supervisor’s track map shows how route 36 streetcars turned around at 120th and Morgan and where they crossed various railroad tracks. The track at an angle was the old PRR “Panhandle” route that went between Chicago and Logansport, Indiana. It was abandoned in the Conrail days.

In the aftermath of the catastrophic collision between PCC 7078 and a gasoline truck on May 25, 1950, in which 33 people tragically lost their lives, we see one of the fortunate survivors, 14-year-old Beverly Clark. She was thrown to the floor by the collision, but managed to escape with relatively minor injuries. News reports indicated that 44 riders survived.

In the aftermath of the catastrophic collision between PCC 7078 and a gasoline truck on May 25, 1950, in which 33 people tragically lost their lives, we see one of the fortunate survivors, 14-year-old Beverly Clark. She was thrown to the floor by the collision, but managed to escape with relatively minor injuries. News reports indicated that 44 riders survived.

CSL 185 on the Roosevelt Road extension in 1946. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

CSL 185 on the Roosevelt Road extension in 1946. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

San Francisco cable car 524, shown here at the Chicago Railroad Fair in 1949, operated over a short section of track where the cable pulled it up an incline over a short distance. This made it the last cable car to operate in Chicago. 524 is back in San Francisco, and still operates there as far as I know.

San Francisco cable car 524, shown here at the Chicago Railroad Fair in 1949, operated over a short section of track where the cable pulled it up an incline over a short distance. This made it the last cable car to operate in Chicago. 524 is back in San Francisco, and still operates there as far as I know.

CTA Pullman 122, signed for route 53 Pulaski, on September 2, 1949.

CTA Pullman 122, signed for route 53 Pulaski, on September 2, 1949.

CTA salt car AA96 in the early 1950s. Formerly CSL 2844, this car had a scrap date of December 27, 1955.

CTA salt car AA96 in the early 1950s. Formerly CSL 2844, this car had a scrap date of December 27, 1955.

Here is an oddity. In this picture, CSL work car 106 has been decorated for Anti-Litter Week as part of a parade.

Here is an oddity. In this picture, CSL work car 106 has been decorated for Anti-Litter Week as part of a parade.

CSL Pullman 127 passes the old North Western Station on Madison on August 18, 1941, while a man in a straw hat wonders why anyone would want to take a picture of a streetcar.

CSL Pullman 127 passes the old North Western Station on Madison on August 18, 1941, while a man in a straw hat wonders why anyone would want to take a picture of a streetcar.

This July 1948 picture of CSL 161 shows it in the weeds at that portion of the Cermak line extended to the lakefront for the Chicago World's Fair.

This July 1948 picture of CSL 161 shows it in the weeds at that portion of the Cermak line extended to the lakefront for the Chicago World’s Fair.

This picture is a bit of a mystery. Although CSL 1899 says it is destined for 63rd and State, that is not this location, since we see the "L" in the background. Sandy Terman: "The photo of flexible 1899 I believe was taken in the lower yard north of west shops just north of Lake street.The trains above I think were actually Lake Street. the 1899 may have been pulled out of service from the State-Lake route according to the destination sign." That's a pretty good theory, and backing it up, you can see trolley poles on some of the "L" cars in the picture. If Mr. Terman is right, those cars are being stored on a third track on the Lake line, which did not have a "proper" yard at the end of the line until after the 1962 elevation.

This picture is a bit of a mystery. Although CSL 1899 says it is destined for 63rd and State, that is not this location, since we see the “L” in the background. Sandy Terman: “The photo of flexible 1899 I believe was taken in the lower yard north of west shops just north of Lake street.The trains above I think were actually Lake Street. the 1899 may have been pulled out of service from the State-Lake route according to the destination sign.” That’s a pretty good theory, and backing it up, you can see trolley poles on some of the “L” cars in the picture. If Mr. Terman is right, those cars are being stored on a third track on the Lake line, which did not have a “proper” yard at the end of the line until after the 1962 elevation.

CTA 3226 at 71st and California in 1950.

CTA 3226 at 71st and California in 1950.

CTA work car W-204, described as a "two-cab flat," in May 1950.

CTA work car W-204, described as a “two-cab flat,” in May 1950.

CSL one-man car 3281 is at Division and Austin, west end of that line. Before there were off-street turnback loops, double-ended streetcars typically stopped right in the middle of the street before going back the other way. Across Austin, that's suburban Oak Park.

CSL one-man car 3281 is at Division and Austin, west end of that line. Before there were off-street turnback loops, double-ended streetcars typically stopped right in the middle of the street before going back the other way. Across Austin, that’s suburban Oak Park.

CSL 1964 is at Chicago and Austin, west end of line, at the city limits.

CSL 1964 is at Chicago and Austin, west end of line, at the city limits.

<img class="size-large wp-image-9206" src="https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/dave661.jpg?w=665" alt="We ran a similar picture as this in our most recent post, This one was taken shortly after that one, and shows CSL 3082 westbound on Randolph in the summer of 1938. Holiday, starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, is playing at one of the many movie palaces the Loop once had.” width=”665″ height=”486″ /> We ran a similar picture as this in our most recent post, This one was taken shortly after that one, and shows CSL 3082 westbound on Randolph in the summer of 1938. Holiday, starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, is playing at one of the many movie palaces the Loop once had.
CTA 3200 heads east on the Roosevelt road extension over the IC tracks, which ran to the Field Museum and Soldier Field. By this time, streetcar service on Roosevelt had been reduced to a shuttle operation between Wabash and the Museum Loop. This picture was taken in May 1952, and the shuttle was discontinued the following year.

CTA 3200 heads east on the Roosevelt road extension over the IC tracks, which ran to the Field Museum and Soldier Field. By this time, streetcar service on Roosevelt had been reduced to a shuttle operation between Wabash and the Museum Loop. This picture was taken in May 1952, and the shuttle was discontinued the following year.

CSL 4024 at the Madison-Austin loop on October 14, 1946. Note the modified trolley shroud on this car.

CSL 4024 at the Madison-Austin loop on October 14, 1946. Note the modified trolley shroud on this car.

CTA 7251 at State and Washington in August 1948. That's one of the iconic Marshall Field's clocks at left.

CTA 7251 at State and Washington in August 1948. That’s one of the iconic Marshall Field’s clocks at left.

Clybourn (left) and Halsted (right) in 1938. There are no streetcars present, but plenty of tracks. In the background, we see part of the Northside "L", generally called the "triple curve." The State Street subway had not yet been built when this picture was taken, but a station at North and Clybourn would eventually replace the one here on the "L". This section of line is still used today by Brown and Purple Line trains, and has not been straightened out.

Clybourn (left) and Halsted (right) in 1938. There are no streetcars present, but plenty of tracks. In the background, we see part of the Northside “L”, generally called the “triple curve.” The State Street subway had not yet been built when this picture was taken, but a station at North and Clybourn would eventually replace the one here on the “L”. This section of line is still used today by Brown and Purple Line trains, and has not been straightened out.

CTA Pullman 996 at the 69th and Ashland Station (car barn).

CTA Pullman 996 at the 69th and Ashland Station (car barn).

CTA 3196 at Wabash and Roosevelt in March 1953.

CTA 3196 at Wabash and Roosevelt in March 1953.

CTA PCC 4100, built by Pullman, is turning from Kinzie onto Clark in November 1953, with Tribune Tower and the Wrigley Building at rear.

CTA PCC 4100, built by Pullman, is turning from Kinzie onto Clark in November 1953, with Tribune Tower and the Wrigley Building at rear.

CSL 5408 is on Roosevelt at Ashland on January 15, 1937. Daniel Joseph: "I believe this photo is at Roosevelt at Ashland with Immanuel Lutheran Church in the background."

CSL 5408 is on Roosevelt at Ashland on January 15, 1937. Daniel Joseph: “I believe this photo is at Roosevelt at Ashland with Immanuel Lutheran Church in the background.”

CTA 7217 at 77th and Vincennes in February 1953. We have run this picture before (in More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Five, October 28, 2015), but now we own the original negative. One of our readers thinks that CTA 7217 is likely eastbound on 78th pulling off of Vincennes Avenue. They continue, "Since the sun is obviously in the east, this appears to be a route 22 pull-in after the AM rush." The date given for that other version of the picture was December 1953, and it was credited to Harold A. Smith.

CTA 7217 at 77th and Vincennes in February 1953. We have run this picture before (in More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Five, October 28, 2015), but now we own the original negative. One of our readers thinks that CTA 7217 is likely eastbound on 78th pulling off of Vincennes Avenue. They continue, “Since the sun is obviously in the east, this appears to be a route 22 pull-in after the AM rush.” The date given for that other version of the picture was December 1953, and it was credited to Harold A. Smith.

You would be forgiven for thinking that this photo of CSL Brill car 5986 was taken on State. In actuality, this is Lake and Austin, with the old Park Theater in the background. This was the west end of the line, at the city limits. This car was on the Lake-State through route 16. The through route was discontinued in 1946, and streetcar service on Lake in 1954. This picture dates to the 1930s.

You would be forgiven for thinking that this photo of CSL Brill car 5986 was taken on State. In actuality, this is Lake and Austin, with the old Park Theater in the background. This was the west end of the line, at the city limits. This car was on the Lake-State through route 16. The through route was discontinued in 1946, and streetcar service on Lake in 1954. This picture dates to the 1930s.

Riders wait to board the rear of CSL 3156 at Lake and Austin in the late 1930s. This car was on Through Route 16 (State-Lake). That is the Park Theater behind the car. It closed sometime around 1952.

Riders wait to board the rear of CSL 3156 at Lake and Austin in the late 1930s. This car was on Through Route 16 (State-Lake). That is the Park Theater behind the car. It closed sometime around 1952.

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Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Six

This could be an "as new" photo showing Metropolitan West Side "L" car 876. Don's Rail Photos: "2873 thru 2887 were built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 873 thru 887. In 1913 they were renumbered 2873 thru 2887 and in 1923 they became CRT 2873 thru 2987." (George Trapp Collection)

This could be an “as new” photo showing Metropolitan West Side “L” car 876. Don’s Rail Photos: “2873 thru 2887 were built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 873 thru 887. In 1913 they were renumbered 2873 thru 2887 and in 1923 they became CRT 2873 thru 2987.” (George Trapp Collection)

Our latest post features another generous selection of Chicago rapid transit photos from the collections of George Trapp. We thank him again for sharing these with our readers.

There will be additional installments in this series. Today, we go back to the west side for some classic shots of the Lake Street and Metropolitan “L” branches, forerunners of today’s CTA Green, Blue and Pink Lines.

As always, if you have anything interesting to add to the discussion, you can either leave a comment here on this post, or contact us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Thanks.

-David Sadowski

PS- To find earlier posts in our series, just type “Chicago rapid transit” in the search window at the top of the page.


The Metropolitan “L”:

This picture was taken at Wells and Van Buren, and shows the old connection between the Met lines and the Loop. The Insurance Exchange building is at right. In 1955, this connection was replaced by one that went right through the old Wells Street Terminal, last used by CA&E trains in 1953 (and CTA in 1951). The terminal can be seen in this picture on the left hand side, where there is a walkway connecting it to the Quincy and Wells station. Once the Congress median line opened in 1958, no such connections were needed, and they were removed by 1964. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

This picture was taken at Wells and Van Buren, and shows the old connection between the Met lines and the Loop. The Insurance Exchange building is at right. In 1955, this connection was replaced by one that went right through the old Wells Street Terminal, last used by CA&E trains in 1953 (and CTA in 1951). The terminal can be seen in this picture on the left hand side, where there is a walkway connecting it to the Quincy and Wells station. Once the Congress median line opened in 1958, no such connections were needed, and they were removed by 1964. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

I've zoomed in to show the old Wells Street Terminal.

I’ve zoomed in to show the old Wells Street Terminal.

This photo is rather curious, as a blow-up on the section behind CTA 6097-6098 (a Douglas Park train) appears to show tracks leading off to the right. That could possibly be the track connection, used from 1955-58, that ran through the old location of Wells Street Terminal. On the other hand, Myron Moyano says, "the shot was taken from the LaSalle and Van Buren platform, looking west towards the junction at Wells and Van Buren. The platform furthest away after the junction was Franklin Street." George Trapp adds, "6097-6098, photo is at LaSalle and Van Buren, Insurance Exchange Building is above car 6097 and rear half of 6098. Junction is with Wells Street leg of Loop "L" and station in distance is Franklin and Van Buren used by Met trains." He guesses the photo dates to about 1952. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

This photo is rather curious, as a blow-up on the section behind CTA 6097-6098 (a Douglas Park train) appears to show tracks leading off to the right. That could possibly be the track connection, used from 1955-58, that ran through the old location of Wells Street Terminal. On the other hand, Myron Moyano says, “the shot was taken from the LaSalle and Van Buren platform, looking west towards the junction at Wells and Van Buren. The platform furthest away after the junction was Franklin Street.” George Trapp adds, “6097-6098, photo is at LaSalle and Van Buren, Insurance Exchange Building is above car 6097 and rear half of 6098. Junction is with Wells Street leg of Loop “L” and station in distance is Franklin and Van Buren used by Met trains.” He guesses the photo dates to about 1952. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A close-up of the previous picture.  Are those tracks leading off to the right?  Apparently they are, but just the ones leading to the Wells leg of the "L".  The station further in the distance is part of the Met main line.

A close-up of the previous picture. Are those tracks leading off to the right? Apparently they are, but just the ones leading to the Wells leg of the “L”. The station further in the distance is part of the Met main line.

CTA 6113-6114, signed for Douglas, on the Loop "L". If I had to guess, I would say this might be the Van Buren leg, but I'm not 100% sure about that. George Trapp: "6113-6114 at same location and probably same day (as photo with 6097-6098, which is on the Van Buren leg), further east closer to Clark Street. My guess is photo probably dates to 1952." (George Trapp Collection)

CTA 6113-6114, signed for Douglas, on the Loop “L”. If I had to guess, I would say this might be the Van Buren leg, but I’m not 100% sure about that. George Trapp: “6113-6114 at same location and probably same day (as photo with 6097-6098, which is on the Van Buren leg), further east closer to Clark Street. My guess is photo probably dates to 1952.” (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 4102 and its "plus one" are heading west, just after having crossed the Chicago River on the four-track Met main line. They are serving both Logan Square and Humboldt Park, meaning this two-car train will be split at Damen and North. The station is Canal, which also had walkways connecting directly to Union Station. It closed in June 1958 when the Congress median line opened. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 4102 and its “plus one” are heading west, just after having crossed the Chicago River on the four-track Met main line. They are serving both Logan Square and Humboldt Park, meaning this two-car train will be split at Damen and North. The station is Canal, which also had walkways connecting directly to Union Station. It closed in June 1958 when the Congress median line opened. (George Trapp Collection)

The four-track Met bridge over the Chicago River (actually, two two-track bridges).

The four-track Met bridge over the Chicago River (actually, two two-track bridges).

This certainly has the appearance of a Met station. Looking at this photo under magnification shows the bridge in the background, and some of the buildings, match up with the old station at Madison and Paulina. The presence of 6000s here would date the picture to late 1950 or early 1951, before the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway went into service. We are looking north. We posted another photo taken towards the north end of this station in our post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Four (September 20, 2016). (George Trapp Collection)

This certainly has the appearance of a Met station. Looking at this photo under magnification shows the bridge in the background, and some of the buildings, match up with the old station at Madison and Paulina. The presence of 6000s here would date the picture to late 1950 or early 1951, before the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway went into service. We are looking north. We posted another photo taken towards the north end of this station in our post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Four (September 20, 2016). (George Trapp Collection)

A close-up of the previous picture. Note how there is something covering over the coupler. George Trapp: "6000's at Madison-Paulina, cars fitted with gloves over couplers like Illinois Terminal's PCC's to protect electrical contacts. By the time 6131-6200 series delivered, hinged covers were fitted."

A close-up of the previous picture. Note how there is something covering over the coupler. George Trapp: “6000’s at Madison-Paulina, cars fitted with gloves over couplers like Illinois Terminal’s PCC’s to protect electrical contacts. By the time 6131-6200 series delivered, hinged covers were fitted.”

Don's Rail Photos: "2756 was built by Barney & Smith in 1895 as M-WSERy 756. In 1913 it was renumbered 756. It became CRT 2756 in 1923. At an unknown date it was rebuilt as a medical car. It was primarily used for physical exams for employees, and occasionally even made it to Milwaukee on the CNS&M." This picture would seem to show it in funeral car configuration. (George Trapp Collection)

Don’s Rail Photos: “2756 was built by Barney & Smith in 1895 as M-WSERy 756. In 1913 it was renumbered 756. It became CRT 2756 in 1923. At an unknown date it was rebuilt as a medical car. It was primarily used for physical exams for employees, and occasionally even made it to Milwaukee on the CNS&M.” This picture would seem to show it in funeral car configuration. (George Trapp Collection)

Don's Rail Photos says, "2281 was built by Pullman in 1900 as M-WSER 281. It was rebuilt in 1912 and in 1913 it was renumbered 2281. It became CRT 2281 in 1923." The car is signed for 5th Avenue. This was the original name of Wells Street until 1916. So it is that 5th Avenue and not one of the stops used by Westchester Branch trains from 1926 to 1951 on the CA&E main line. Therefore, the picture dates to between 1913 and 1916. (George Trapp Collection)

Don’s Rail Photos says, “2281 was built by Pullman in 1900 as M-WSER 281. It was rebuilt in 1912 and in 1913 it was renumbered 2281. It became CRT 2281 in 1923.” The car is signed for 5th Avenue. This was the original name of Wells Street until 1916. So it is that 5th Avenue and not one of the stops used by Westchester Branch trains from 1926 to 1951 on the CA&E main line. Therefore, the picture dates to between 1913 and 1916. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 2705, signed for Wells Street, so we know the photo is from 1916 or later. This picture was probably taken at Laramie Yard in the 1940s. Don's Rail Photos: "2701 thru 2756 were built by Barney & Smith in 1895 as M-WSER 701 thru 756. In 1913 they were renumbered 2701 thru 2756 and in 1923 they became CRT 2701 thru 2756." (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT 2705, signed for Wells Street, so we know the photo is from 1916 or later. This picture was probably taken at Laramie Yard in the 1940s. Don’s Rail Photos: “2701 thru 2756 were built by Barney & Smith in 1895 as M-WSER 701 thru 756. In 1913 they were renumbered 2701 thru 2756 and in 1923 they became CRT 2701 thru 2756.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Met car 2730, again signed for 5th Avenue, which limits this photo to 1916 or earlier. This time we are at the Logan Square yard. (George Trapp Collection)

Met car 2730, again signed for 5th Avenue, which limits this photo to 1916 or earlier. This time we are at the Logan Square yard. (George Trapp Collection)

CRTR 2866, most likely t Laramie Yard in the 1940s. Don's Rail Photos says, "2859 thru 2871 were built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 859 thru 871. In 1913 they were renumbered 2859 thru 2871 and in 1923 they became CRT 2859 thru 2871." (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRTR 2866, most likely t Laramie Yard in the 1940s. Don’s Rail Photos says, “2859 thru 2871 were built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 859 thru 871. In 1913 they were renumbered 2859 thru 2871 and in 1923 they became CRT 2859 thru 2871.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT 2802, signed for 5th Avenue, which would date this picture to no later than 1916. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 2802, signed for 5th Avenue, which would date this picture to no later than 1916. (George Trapp Collection)

Don's Rail Photos says, "2721 was built by Barney & Smith in 1895 as Metropolitan-West Side Elevated Ry 721. In 1913 it was renumbered 721. In 1919 it was rebuilt as a merchandise dispatch car to be leased to the North Shore line. After a short time it was replaced by new and similar MD cars built for the North Shore. It was then returned to the CRT and used in work service. It became CRT 2721 in 1923." The location is likely Laramie Yard. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection) We ran a different picture of 2721 in our post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Four (September 20, 2016).

Don’s Rail Photos says, “2721 was built by Barney & Smith in 1895 as Metropolitan-West Side Elevated Ry 721. In 1913 it was renumbered 721. In 1919 it was rebuilt as a merchandise dispatch car to be leased to the North Shore line. After a short time it was replaced by new and similar MD cars built for the North Shore. It was then returned to the CRT and used in work service. It became CRT 2721 in 1923.” The location is likely Laramie Yard. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection) We ran a different picture of 2721 in our post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Four (September 20, 2016).

CRT 4383 is signed as going to Maywood and Westchester via the Garfield Park "L". It is coupled to an older gate car. We are at one of the ground-level stations. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 4383 is signed as going to Maywood and Westchester via the Garfield Park “L”. It is coupled to an older gate car. We are at one of the ground-level stations. (George Trapp Collection)

The Douglas Park Yards at 54th Avenue in the 1950s. (George Trapp Collection)

The Douglas Park Yards at 54th Avenue in the 1950s. (George Trapp Collection)

One of the 5001-5004 "doodlebugs" and a Met car at Logan Square along with a work car. George Trapp: "One of the Pullman built doodlebugs, 5001-5002 at Logan Square appears to be coupled to the Met's original steel dreadnought #2717. Odd for doodlebug to be at Logan Square at this time, 6000's in background with cream roofs date photo to 1950-51. Doodlebugs had been assigned to Evanston for over a year by this time." Coupling modern equipment to 2717, and the timeframe, may provide an answer. Perhaps these cars were being used for testing in the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway, which opened in February 1951. Wood cars were banned from the subway by city ordinance, due to fire safety concerns, but this did not apply to 2717, as it was an early experiment with an all-steel car. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo, George Trapp Collection)

One of the 5001-5004 “doodlebugs” and a Met car at Logan Square along with a work car. George Trapp: “One of the Pullman built doodlebugs, 5001-5002 at Logan Square appears to be coupled to the Met’s original steel dreadnought #2717. Odd for doodlebug to be at Logan Square at this time, 6000’s in background with cream roofs date photo to 1950-51. Doodlebugs had been assigned to Evanston for over a year by this time.” Coupling modern equipment to 2717, and the timeframe, may provide an answer. Perhaps these cars were being used for testing in the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway, which opened in February 1951. Wood cars were banned from the subway by city ordinance, due to fire safety concerns, but this did not apply to 2717, as it was an early experiment with an all-steel car. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA "flat door" cars 6003-6004 at Logan Square in the 1950s. Note the slightly different paint scheme compared to later cars in this series. George Trapp: "6003-6004 at Logan Square, in addition to the different paint scheme from 6005-6130, notice extra metal sheets riveted to large window posts between 1st and 2nd windows from each end. Only 6001-6004 had them." (George Trapp Collection)

CTA “flat door” cars 6003-6004 at Logan Square in the 1950s. Note the slightly different paint scheme compared to later cars in this series. George Trapp: “6003-6004 at Logan Square, in addition to the different paint scheme from 6005-6130, notice extra metal sheets riveted to large window posts between 1st and 2nd windows from each end. Only 6001-6004 had them.” (George Trapp Collection)

CTA 6007-6008. Note how the ends of these cars were painted differently than 6001-6004. (George Trapp Collection)

CTA 6007-6008. Note how the ends of these cars were painted differently than 6001-6004. (George Trapp Collection)

We have restored these four badly faded color prints as best we could. This one shows CTA single car unit 41 in 1959, as new, at Logan Square. Note it has not yet been fitted with trolley poles, which this car used when put into service in Evanston in 1961. (Robert Geis Photo, George Trapp Collection)

We have restored these four badly faded color prints as best we could. This one shows CTA single car unit 41 in 1959, as new, at Logan Square. Note it has not yet been fitted with trolley poles, which this car used when put into service in Evanston in 1961. (Robert Geis Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A lineup of 6000s at Logan Square in 1959. (Robert Geis Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A lineup of 6000s at Logan Square in 1959. (Robert Geis Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA 6151-6152, 17, and 18 at the Logan Square bumper post in 1959. The greenish blob in the lower left corner of the picture is lens flare caused by the sun, essentially internal reflections of the glass elements of the lens that occur when you shoot into the light. (Robert Geis Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA 6151-6152, 17, and 18 at the Logan Square bumper post in 1959. The greenish blob in the lower left corner of the picture is lens flare caused by the sun, essentially internal reflections of the glass elements of the lens that occur when you shoot into the light. (Robert Geis Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Brand new CTA single car unit 18 at Logan Square in 1959. (Robert Geis Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Brand new CTA single car unit 18 at Logan Square in 1959. (Robert Geis Photo, George Trapp Collection)


The Lake Street “L”:

CRT 3042 was a Lake Street car. According to Don's Rail Photos, "3001 thru 3100 were built by Gilbert in 1893 as Lake Street Elevated RR 1 thru 100. In 1913 they were renumbered 3001 thru 3100 and became Chicago Rapid Transit 3001 thru 3100 in 1923." (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 3042 was a Lake Street car. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “3001 thru 3100 were built by Gilbert in 1893 as Lake Street Elevated RR 1 thru 100. In 1913 they were renumbered 3001 thru 3100 and became Chicago Rapid Transit 3001 thru 3100 in 1923.” (George Trapp Collection)

A two-car Lake Street "A" train (one car is numbered 1708) on the Loop "L". Not sure of the exact location, but as you can see in back, this is an area where there was a continuous platform connection stations. This allowed for more trains to stop at the same time, and was likely the inspiration for the continuous platforms in Chicago's downtown subways. Myron Moyano adds, "Car 1708 under the Lake Street section is at Madison and Wells." (George Trapp Collection)

A two-car Lake Street “A” train (one car is numbered 1708) on the Loop “L”. Not sure of the exact location, but as you can see in back, this is an area where there was a continuous platform connection stations. This allowed for more trains to stop at the same time, and was likely the inspiration for the continuous platforms in Chicago’s downtown subways. Myron Moyano adds, “Car 1708 under the Lake Street section is at Madison and Wells.” (George Trapp Collection)

Brand new CTA cars 2003-2004 (paired with 2001-2002) in demonstration service at Randolph and Wabash in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)

Brand new CTA cars 2003-2004 (paired with 2001-2002) in demonstration service at Randolph and Wabash in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA 2003-4 and 2001-2 on demonstration runs on the Wabash leg of the Loop "L" in 1964. This was the first series of rapid transit cars to come with air conditioning as standard equipment, something we take for granted today. Unfortunately, the AC was underpowered for the job it had to do, and the ceiling-mounted units tended to drip water on people. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA 2003-4 and 2001-2 on demonstration runs on the Wabash leg of the Loop “L” in 1964. This was the first series of rapid transit cars to come with air conditioning as standard equipment, something we take for granted today. Unfortunately, the AC was underpowered for the job it had to do, and the ceiling-mounted units tended to drip water on people. (George Trapp Photo)

An ancient view of Lake and Market, showing where the Market Street stub branched off. (George Trapp Collection)

An ancient view of Lake and Market, showing where the Market Street stub branched off. (George Trapp Collection)

A rare photo of the old Market Street stub terminal, where some Lake Street "L" trains terminated in the days before A/B "skip stop" service. It was torn down in the late 1940s. (George Trapp Collection)

A rare photo of the old Market Street stub terminal, where some Lake Street “L” trains terminated in the days before A/B “skip stop” service. It was torn down in the late 1940s. (George Trapp Collection)

The old Lake Street "L" bridge over the Chicago River. (George Trapp Collection)

The old Lake Street “L” bridge over the Chicago River. (George Trapp Collection)

A pair of shiny new 5000s (first pair is 5001-5002) on the Lake Street "L" bridge over the Chicago River, circa 1947-48. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A pair of shiny new 5000s (first pair is 5001-5002) on the Lake Street “L” bridge over the Chicago River, circa 1947-48. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Here is the Lake Street view of Lake Transfer, with two woods in the station. Riders could change here for the Met "L" Logan Square and Humboldt Park trains. (George Trapp Collection)

Here is the Lake Street view of Lake Transfer, with two woods in the station. Riders could change here for the Met “L” Logan Square and Humboldt Park trains. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 4338 heads up a Lake Street Local train somewhere on the west side. This photo is probably no later than 1943, since all the 4000s were shifted to the State Street subway then. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT 4338 heads up a Lake Street Local train somewhere on the west side. This photo is probably no later than 1943, since all the 4000s were shifted to the State Street subway then. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT S-200 in the Lake and Hamlin yard. Don's Rail Photos says, "S-200 was built by Barney & Smith in 1901 at M-WSER 783. It was renumbered in 1913 as 2783. In 1916 it was rebuilt as a work motor and numbered S-200. It became CRT S-200 in 1923." In this photo, it looks like it is being used to string trolley wire. You can see the ramp leading up to the "L" at right. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT S-200 in the Lake and Hamlin yard. Don’s Rail Photos says, “S-200 was built by Barney & Smith in 1901 at M-WSER 783. It was renumbered in 1913 as 2783. In 1916 it was rebuilt as a work motor and numbered S-200. It became CRT S-200 in 1923.” In this photo, it looks like it is being used to string trolley wire. You can see the ramp leading up to the “L” at right. (George Trapp Collection)

There was a short stretch, less than half a mile actually, where Lake Street trains ran parallel under wire right next to streetcars, as you can see here. The trolley is heading west, while the train of wood cars is going east, and just starting to head up the ramp. Route 16 streetcars crossed the "L" and turned north a block east of Central Avenue. (George Trapp Collection)

There was a short stretch, less than half a mile actually, where Lake Street trains ran parallel under wire right next to streetcars, as you can see here. The trolley is heading west, while the train of wood cars is going east, and just starting to head up the ramp. Route 16 streetcars crossed the “L” and turned north a block east of Central Avenue. (George Trapp Collection)

Editor’s note: Lake and Pine is perhaps the only place left in Chicago where streetcar tracks are still visible. Here are four pictures that I took there on July 7, 2016. The view is looking south:

p1070069

p1070068

p1070064

p1070063

Here's an interesting streetscape that could not be duplicated today. According to the back of the picture, it shows the view looking east from South Boulevard and Austin, on the eastern edge of Oak Park. The Lake Street "L", where it ran on the ground, had a very narrow right-of-way that the 6000s, with their bulging sides, could not fit in. So, looking for a place to build space for CRT/CTA employee use, there was nowhere to go but up. Not sure which bus routes are there in back, but this was the Chicago side of the street, which would argue against West Towns. It must be Chicago, since Oak Park was "dry" at the time and liquor is being sold. Bill Shapotkin adds: "If this is indeed at Austin (and I believe it is), the street is still called Lake (NOT South Blvd -- as I understand that is strictly an Oak Park name). There were de facto two Lake Streets at this point-- one north of the C&NW and one south of the C&NW. The name "Corcoran" (again as I understand it) did not come along until possibly the time the 'L' was rerouted onto the C&NW embankment). As for the bus -- probably a W/B E16 -- Lake. The bus looped via W/B Lake-N/B Austin-E/B Lake-S/B Mayfield-E/B Lake. That said, there appears to be a bus heading E/B as well -- and that I cannot explain." George Trapp adds, "Lake Street photo at South Blvd. and Austin, buses are Chicago Motor Coach TD-4502's at terminal of Route 31 Washington Blvd. Buses are in their original 1940 paint jobs so photo dates to 1940's." (George Trapp Collection)

Here’s an interesting streetscape that could not be duplicated today. According to the back of the picture, it shows the view looking east from South Boulevard and Austin, on the eastern edge of Oak Park. The Lake Street “L”, where it ran on the ground, had a very narrow right-of-way that the 6000s, with their bulging sides, could not fit in. So, looking for a place to build space for CRT/CTA employee use, there was nowhere to go but up. Not sure which bus routes are there in back, but this was the Chicago side of the street, which would argue against West Towns. It must be Chicago, since Oak Park was “dry” at the time and liquor is being sold. Bill Shapotkin adds: “If this is indeed at Austin (and I believe it is), the street is still called Lake (NOT South Blvd — as I understand that is strictly an Oak Park name). There were de facto two Lake Streets at this point– one north of the C&NW and one south of the C&NW. The name “Corcoran” (again as I understand it) did not come along until possibly the time the ‘L’ was rerouted onto the C&NW embankment). As for the bus — probably a W/B E16 — Lake. The bus looped via W/B Lake-N/B Austin-E/B Lake-S/B Mayfield-E/B Lake. That said, there appears to be a bus heading E/B as well — and that I cannot explain.” George Trapp adds, “Lake Street photo at South Blvd. and Austin, buses are Chicago Motor Coach TD-4502’s at terminal of Route 31 Washington Blvd. Buses are in their original 1940 paint jobs so photo dates to 1940’s.” (George Trapp Collection)

In this current map, it appears that Lake Street crosses over from south of the UP embankment to the north at Pine, where the CSL/CTA route 16 streetcar did. West of Pine, the street on the south side of the embankment is called Corcoran Place. (West of Austin, in suburban Oak Park, this is South Boulevard.) However, there is some question as to when the name was changed to Corcoran Place (see the next map).

In this current map, it appears that Lake Street crosses over from south of the UP embankment to the north at Pine, where the CSL/CTA route 16 streetcar did. West of Pine, the street on the south side of the embankment is called Corcoran Place. (West of Austin, in suburban Oak Park, this is South Boulevard.) However, there is some question as to when the name was changed to Corcoran Place (see the next map).

In this early 1940s Chicago street map, the street south of the embankment is labelled as Lake all the way to Austin Boulevard, where it apparently crosses over to the north of the embankment in Oak park. There is no sign of any Corcoran Place. The solid line, shown crossing over from north to the south of the tracks at Pine Street, is the route of the route 16 - Lake streetcar. However, the map does not really make it clear whether, technically, the street to the north of the tracks was called Lake in this section, or was a continuation of Kinzie, as it was east of Pine. Were there in fact two Lake Streets in this section? There wouldn't have been duplicate street numbers, since in this area, each half would've only had buildings on one side of the street. Perhaps a map expert can clarify all this.

In this early 1940s Chicago street map, the street south of the embankment is labelled as Lake all the way to Austin Boulevard, where it apparently crosses over to the north of the embankment in Oak park. There is no sign of any Corcoran Place. The solid line, shown crossing over from north to the south of the tracks at Pine Street, is the route of the route 16 – Lake streetcar. However, the map does not really make it clear whether, technically, the street to the north of the tracks was called Lake in this section, or was a continuation of Kinzie, as it was east of Pine. Were there in fact two Lake Streets in this section? There wouldn’t have been duplicate street numbers, since in this area, each half would’ve only had buildings on one side of the street. Perhaps a map expert can clarify all this.

The same view today.

The same view today.

This is a Lake Street local train, heading west on the ground level section, which was elevated in 1962. Since this photo predates A/B "skip stop" service, it must date to before April 5, 1948. (George Trapp Collection)

This is a Lake Street local train, heading west on the ground level section, which was elevated in 1962. Since this photo predates A/B “skip stop” service, it must date to before April 5, 1948. (George Trapp Collection)

A westbound Lake "A" train in 1950s Oak Park. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A westbound Lake “A” train in 1950s Oak Park. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

An inbound Lake Street Local somewhere in Oak Park prior to the adoption of A/B service in 1948. The outer portion of the line, from about Oak Park Avenue west, did not have fencing. There were numerous manually operated grade crossings along the 2 1/2 miles where trains ran on the ground. (George Trapp Collection)

An inbound Lake Street Local somewhere in Oak Park prior to the adoption of A/B service in 1948. The outer portion of the line, from about Oak Park Avenue west, did not have fencing. There were numerous manually operated grade crossings along the 2 1/2 miles where trains ran on the ground. (George Trapp Collection)

Here, we see some Met cars in service on the Lake Street "L". In the days when the outer portion ran on the ground, there was a short stretch just west of Harlem Avenue, which is what we see here. There was actually a station just west of Harlem, which was not used very much, compared to the one at Harlem and Marion. Wood cars last ran on Lake on July 5, 1954. In 1962, the nearby embankment was expanded by CTA to create a new yard. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Here, we see some Met cars in service on the Lake Street “L”. In the days when the outer portion ran on the ground, there was a short stretch just west of Harlem Avenue, which is what we see here. There was actually a station just west of Harlem, which was not used very much, compared to the one at Harlem and Marion. Wood cars last ran on Lake on July 5, 1954. In 1962, the nearby embankment was expanded by CTA to create a new yard. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)


Bonus Photo:

This picture is not from George Trapp, but we thought you might find it interesting anyway:

In this 1950s photo, CTA bus 5602 is on route 6. Meanwhile, we see trains of 4000s and 6000s on the "L" at Wabash and Lake. From 1913 to 1969, trains on both tracks ran in a counterclockwise direction. George Trapp: "Bus 5602 is on route 6, Garfield Blvd not Van Buren. The 5500 series propane buses didn't start to arrive until late 1953. Garfield route was one of the first routes transferred away from a former CMC garage, 52nd to Ashland-69th. Propane 5500's were a downgrade from CMC Diesels which were faster, easier to see out of and had more comfortable mohair plush seats."

In this 1950s photo, CTA bus 5602 is on route 6. Meanwhile, we see trains of 4000s and 6000s on the “L” at Wabash and Lake. From 1913 to 1969, trains on both tracks ran in a counterclockwise direction. George Trapp: “Bus 5602 is on route 6, Garfield Blvd not Van Buren. The 5500 series propane buses didn’t start to arrive until late 1953. Garfield route was one of the first routes transferred away from a former CMC garage, 52nd to Ashland-69th. Propane 5500’s were a downgrade from CMC Diesels which were faster, easier to see out of and had more comfortable mohair plush seats.”


Recent Additions:

Here’s one more that we added to our previous post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Five (September 26, 2016):

CRT/CTA 1757, signed as an Evanston local. Don's Rail Photos: "1756 thru 1768 were built by Jewett Car in 1903 as NWERy 756 thru 768. They were renumbered 1756 thru 1768 in 1913 and became CRT 1756 thru 1768 in 1923." (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT/CTA 1757, signed as an Evanston local. Don’s Rail Photos: “1756 thru 1768 were built by Jewett Car in 1903 as NWERy 756 thru 768. They were renumbered 1756 thru 1768 in 1913 and became CRT 1756 thru 1768 in 1923.” (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)


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Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Four

CRT/CTA Met car 2865, a Douglas Park local on the Loop "L". (George Trapp Collection)

CRT/CTA Met car 2865, a Douglas Park local on the Loop “L”. (George Trapp Collection)

Today, we offer a generous selection of Chicago rapid transit photos, mainly from the collections of George Trapp. We thank him for his continued generosity in sharing these with our readers.

There will be additional installments in this series. Here, we have concentrated on the Garfield Park and Westchester branches. We have supplemented George Trapp’s photos with a few from our own collections.

As always, if you have anything interesting to add to the discussion, you can either leave a comment here on this post, or contact us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Thanks.

-David Sadowski

PS- To find earlier posts in our series, just type “Chicago rapid transit” in the search window at the top of the page. We featured many additional pictures of the Westchester branch in a previous post.


Here, we have the old four-track Canal Street station on the Met "L" main line, which served Union Station. We are looking east. The tracks took a jog slightly to the north at this point. Behind the station, tracks continued straight east to the old Wells Street terminal, with a separate connection to the Loop "L". This station continued in use until June 22, 1958 and therefore was not affected by expressway construction. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Here, we have the old four-track Canal Street station on the Met “L” main line, which served Union Station. We are looking east. The tracks took a jog slightly to the north at this point. Behind the station, tracks continued straight east to the old Wells Street terminal, with a separate connection to the Loop “L”. This station continued in use until June 22, 1958 and therefore was not affected by expressway construction. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

We are at the east end of the Van Buren trackage, which connected to the old "L" structure at Aberdeen (1100 W.). That is the Racine station at left. Service on a portion of the old "L" would have continued until the Spring 1954, until a new connection was built to allow Douglas Park trains to access the Loop via the Lake Street "L". We are looking west. This area is now occupied by the Eisenhower Expressway. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

We are at the east end of the Van Buren trackage, which connected to the old “L” structure at Aberdeen (1100 W.). That is the Racine station at left. Service on a portion of the old “L” would have continued until the Spring 1954, until a new connection was built to allow Douglas Park trains to access the Loop via the Lake Street “L”. We are looking west. This area is now occupied by the Eisenhower Expressway. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A mid-1950s view of the CTA's Van Buren Street temporary alignment. We are facing west, most likely at Racine (1200 W.). The signals at each intersection made trains come to a complete stop before crossing. That may be a 1956 Chevrolet at right. (George Trapp Collection)

A mid-1950s view of the CTA’s Van Buren Street temporary alignment. We are facing west, most likely at Racine (1200 W.). The signals at each intersection made trains come to a complete stop before crossing. That may be a 1956 Chevrolet at right. (George Trapp Collection)

In the mid-1950s, a two-car train of flat door 6000s heads west at Paulina (1700 W.), about to cross under tracks now used by the CTA's Pink Line. The building with the tower is located at 333 S. Ashland. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

In the mid-1950s, a two-car train of flat door 6000s heads west at Paulina (1700 W.), about to cross under tracks now used by the CTA’s Pink Line. The building with the tower is located at 333 S. Ashland. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Workers United Hall at 333 S. Ashland Avenue, was built in 1928, and designed by Walter Ahlschlager. Home of the Chicago Joint Board of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, which became part of a growing group of other labor organizations who established offices in the neighborhood, known as Union Row.

Workers United Hall at 333 S. Ashland Avenue, was built in 1928, and designed by Walter Ahlschlager. Home of the Chicago Joint Board of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, which became part of a growing group of other labor organizations who established offices in the neighborhood, known as Union Row.  The building became, and remained, the most prominent union hall structure in the area, which grew to include over 30 labor unions and locals by the 1950s.

Marshfield Junction, looking east. The Logan Square/Humboldt Park, Garfield Park, and Douglas Park branches converged here onto the Met main line. (George Trapp Collection)

Marshfield Junction, looking east. The Logan Square/Humboldt Park, Garfield Park, and Douglas Park branches converged here onto the Met main line. (George Trapp Collection)

This is a Logan Square branch station along Paulina Street, looking north. It cannot be Marshfield, since the tracks went off from that point via a curve. In the background, we see the bridge over the Milwaukee Road and Chicago & North Western tracks. This bridge is still there, used for signals. The old Lake Transfer station is just south of the bridge. Therefore, by a process of elimination, I'd say this is most likely the old Madison Street station. There is no station at this location now (although some would like to see one built, to serve the nearby United Center), but the tracks are still in place for use by the CTA Pink Line. (George Trapp Collection)

This is a Logan Square branch station along Paulina Street, looking north. It cannot be Marshfield, since the tracks went off from that point via a curve. In the background, we see the bridge over the Milwaukee Road and Chicago & North Western tracks. This bridge is still there, used for signals. The old Lake Transfer station is just south of the bridge. Therefore, by a process of elimination, I’d say this is most likely the old Madison Street station. There is no station at this location now (although some would like to see one built, to serve the nearby United Center), but the tracks are still in place for use by the CTA Pink Line. (George Trapp Collection)

A blow-up of the previous picture shows Lake Transfer station in the distance. This is where the Met "L" along Paulina crossed over the Lake Street line, before continuing north over the bridge shown in the background. The tracks north of Lake were removed in 1964, but the bridge was kept in place for use by signals on the Milwaukee Road and C&NW tracks below. (George Trapp Collection)

A blow-up of the previous picture shows Lake Transfer station in the distance. This is where the Met “L” along Paulina crossed over the Lake Street line, before continuing north over the bridge shown in the background. The tracks north of Lake were removed in 1964, but the bridge was kept in place for use by signals on the Milwaukee Road and C&NW tracks below. (George Trapp Collection)

The same bridge today.

The same bridge today.

This map shows how the Douglas Park "L" was rerouted as of April 4, 1954. The old routing brought trains into the Loop via the Mat main line (Garfield branch on this map). In September 1953, the Garfield trains themselves were using a 2.5m temporary right-of-way in the south half of Van Buren Street. In order to facilitate the removal of that portion of "L" structure that remained between Paulina and Racine, a new north-south span was built crossing the expressway footprint (there should be a straight line on this map, but there isn't), allowing Douglas trains to continue north along Paulina, to a new connection with the Lake Street "L". That was a connection which had not previously existed, since previously the only service on these tracks (Logan Square and Humboldt Park trains, which stopped using these tracks in February 1951) crossed over the Lake Street "L". As it turns out, this is the same route now followed by today's CTA Pink Line (which replaced Douglas) after a hiatus of more than 50 years.

This map shows how the Douglas Park “L” was rerouted as of April 4, 1954. The old routing brought trains into the Loop via the Mat main line (Garfield branch on this map). In September 1953, the Garfield trains themselves were using a 2.5m temporary right-of-way in the south half of Van Buren Street. In order to facilitate the removal of that portion of “L” structure that remained between Paulina and Racine, a new north-south span was built crossing the expressway footprint (there should be a straight line on this map, but there isn’t), allowing Douglas trains to continue north along Paulina, to a new connection with the Lake Street “L”. That was a connection which had not previously existed, since previously the only service on these tracks (Logan Square and Humboldt Park trains, which stopped using these tracks in February 1951) crossed over the Lake Street “L”. As it turns out, this is the same route now followed by today’s CTA Pink Line (which replaced Douglas) after a hiatus of more than 50 years.

This 1954 picture, taken from Marshfield Junction, shows the Douglas Park "L" in transition. The 6000s in the foreground are on the old Met "L" alignment, while the train in the background is on a new portion of structure, allowing a direct connection to the Logan Square portion to the north. In turn, a new connection was built allowing Douglas trains to proceed downtown over the Lake Street "L", which is the alignment now used once again by today's CTA Pink Line. Andre Kristopans: "In the shot of old and new at Marshfield Jct, the 6000 is a regular Douglas train, while the woods on the connector are a work train. There was never service simultaneously on both routings."

This 1954 picture, taken from Marshfield Junction, shows the Douglas Park “L” in transition. The 6000s in the foreground are on the old Met “L” alignment, while the train in the background is on a new portion of structure, allowing a direct connection to the Logan Square portion to the north. In turn, a new connection was built allowing Douglas trains to proceed downtown over the Lake Street “L”, which is the alignment now used once again by today’s CTA Pink Line. Andre Kristopans: “In the shot of old and new at Marshfield Jct, the 6000 is a regular Douglas train, while the woods on the connector are a work train. There was never service simultaneously on both routings.”

A Douglas Park train crosses the Van Buren right-of-way near Paulina (1700 W.). We are facing east. This may be circa 1954, as the old "L" structure is still in place east of here. It could not be torn down as long as Douglas Park trains needed it to access the Loop. Notice how one of the Garfield tracks makes a dog-leg around the "L" supports. Sean Hunnicutt adds, "this is 6001-6002."

A Douglas Park train crosses the Van Buren right-of-way near Paulina (1700 W.). We are facing east. This may be circa 1954, as the old “L” structure is still in place east of here. It could not be torn down as long as Douglas Park trains needed it to access the Loop. Notice how one of the Garfield tracks makes a dog-leg around the “L” supports. Sean Hunnicutt adds, “this is 6001-6002.”

A current view. The Paulina Connector has been rebuilt and is now part of today's Pink Line.

A current view. The Paulina Connector has been rebuilt and is now part of today’s Pink Line.

Here is an example where even the CTA got it wrong with this caption, taken from a 1950s employee publication. This is not the center median strip for the Congress Expressway. It actually shows the CTA temporary right-of-way on Van Buren under construction circa 1952. The grade level had to be lowered at this point in order to clear the C&NW/PRR tracks, and this was done in the middle of the street, leaving only a small lane for other traffic to the north. There was also a small lane to the south, presumably to provide easy access to the construction site on both sides of the tracks. The railroad bridge was retained and is still in use today, but new supports were built under the south portion, as you will see in contemporary pictures. The actual expressway median at this point is located where the Garfield Park "L" structure is at left. That is why it was necessary to build a temporary alignment for about 2.5 miles of the route. We are looking west.

Here is an example where even the CTA got it wrong with this caption, taken from a 1950s employee publication. This is not the center median strip for the Congress Expressway. It actually shows the CTA temporary right-of-way on Van Buren under construction circa 1952. The grade level had to be lowered at this point in order to clear the C&NW/PRR tracks, and this was done in the middle of the street, leaving only a small lane for other traffic to the north. There was also a small lane to the south, presumably to provide easy access to the construction site on both sides of the tracks. The railroad bridge was retained and is still in use today, but new supports were built under the south portion, as you will see in contemporary pictures. The actual expressway median at this point is located where the Garfield Park “L” structure is at left. That is why it was necessary to build a temporary alignment for about 2.5 miles of the route. We are looking west.

The Van Buren trackage at Rockwell, showing the underpass trains used to clear the C&NW/PRR trackage. Notice how here, the CTA tracks are in the middle of Van Buren, instead of simply taking up the south half. This permitted a narrow lane on each side of the "L". To the south, this allowed construction workers access to both sides of the railroad embankment. We are looking east. (George Trapp Collection)

The Van Buren trackage at Rockwell, showing the underpass trains used to clear the C&NW/PRR trackage. Notice how here, the CTA tracks are in the middle of Van Buren, instead of simply taking up the south half. This permitted a narrow lane on each side of the “L”. To the south, this allowed construction workers access to both sides of the railroad embankment. We are looking east. (George Trapp Collection)

The same location today.

The same location today.

A close-up of the railroad bridge at about 2600 W. Van Buren, showing how the supports on one side had to be replaced.

A close-up of the railroad bridge at about 2600 W. Van Buren, showing how the supports on one side had to be replaced.

This September 1953 view of the new Van Buren trackage looks east from (I think) California Avenue (2800 W.). The photo caption reads, "CTA Elevated tracks on surface (due to) construction (of the) Congress St. expressway. At time of photo trains still using El structure at right of picture."

This September 1953 view of the new Van Buren trackage looks east from (I think) California Avenue (2800 W.). The photo caption reads, “CTA Elevated tracks on surface (due to) construction (of the) Congress St. expressway. At time of photo trains still using El structure at right of picture.”

I am not sure why the motorman of this 1951 train of CA&E woods is gesturing. Perhaps he is waving at the photographers below. My guess is this picture was taken at the Sacramento curve. If this was the Halsted curve, I would expect the buildings to be larger.

I am not sure why the motorman of this 1951 train of CA&E woods is gesturing. Perhaps he is waving at the photographers below. My guess is this picture was taken at the Sacramento curve. If this was the Halsted curve, I would expect the buildings to be larger.

In this late 1950s photo, we see the Garfield Park "L" crossing the Congress Expressway at Sacramento. We are looking to the south. The "L" continued to use the old alignment in those places where it was not directly in the expressway footprint. Between Sacramento (3000 W.) and Kostner (4400 W.), the "L" actually ran to the south of the expressway. At Kostner, the "L" again crossed the highway, this time at an angle, taking it to the north. North of this picture location would have been the Sacramento curve and a ramp connection to the Van Buren trackage. Andre Kristopans adds, "The shot at Sacramento also shows how different things were then. Note there are pilings holding up the L structure BETWEEN expressway lanes. You couldn’t imagine doing that today, but in the 1950’s there was much more of a tendency to say if you weren’t watching and hit something, it was your fault, not the fault of what you hit." (George Trapp Collection)

In this late 1950s photo, we see the Garfield Park “L” crossing the Congress Expressway at Sacramento. We are looking to the south. The “L” continued to use the old alignment in those places where it was not directly in the expressway footprint. Between Sacramento (3000 W.) and Kostner (4400 W.), the “L” actually ran to the south of the expressway. At Kostner, the “L” again crossed the highway, this time at an angle, taking it to the north. North of this picture location would have been the Sacramento curve and a ramp connection to the Van Buren trackage. Andre Kristopans adds, “The shot at Sacramento also shows how different things were then. Note there are pilings holding up the L structure BETWEEN expressway lanes. You couldn’t imagine doing that today, but in the 1950’s there was much more of a tendency to say if you weren’t watching and hit something, it was your fault, not the fault of what you hit.” (George Trapp Collection)

No, these two cars are not going downhill. But if you level out the picture, you can't see the sign identifying this as the Pulaski Road station on the Garfield Park "L". Based on the sign on this car, I would say the train is heading west. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

No, these two cars are not going downhill. But if you level out the picture, you can’t see the sign identifying this as the Pulaski Road station on the Garfield Park “L”. Based on the sign on this car, I would say the train is heading west. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Now we are on the level. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Now we are on the level. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

I don't know the exact location of this westbound Garfield Park train. But my gut instinct is this was taken at the same general location as the previous photo, which would make it the east end of the Pulaski station. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

I don’t know the exact location of this westbound Garfield Park train. But my gut instinct is this was taken at the same general location as the previous photo, which would make it the east end of the Pulaski station. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT 4318 and 2190, running in express service along the Garfield Park "L". Not sure which station this is. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT 4318 and 2190, running in express service along the Garfield Park “L”. Not sure which station this is. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A view of the Laramie Yard, looking east from the walkway that allowed you to cross over between platforms. Much of this area is now occupied by Michelle Clark Magnet High School, and the area to the right of the picture is taken up by the Eisenhower (formerly Congress) Expressway. Note one of the four "Doodlebugs" in the yard. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Ciollection)

A view of the Laramie Yard, looking east from the walkway that allowed you to cross over between platforms. Much of this area is now occupied by Michelle Clark Magnet High School, and the area to the right of the picture is taken up by the Eisenhower (formerly Congress) Expressway. Note one of the four “Doodlebugs” in the yard. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Ciollection)

You hardly ever see any pictures of the ramp that brought the Garfield line from grade level to the "L" structure between Laramie and Cicero. This is an enlargement of the previous picture. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Ciollection)

You hardly ever see any pictures of the ramp that brought the Garfield line from grade level to the “L” structure between Laramie and Cicero. This is an enlargement of the previous picture. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Ciollection)

The old ground-level Laramie station on the Garfield Park "L". The woman on the platform may be using the scale (shown in another picture taken at this station) to weigh herself. These generally cost a penny. On some of these, if you could successfully guess your weight, you got your penny back. We are looking east. The "L" went up a ramp from here to reach the Cicero station. The water tank at right shows up in a lot of these pictures, and is often useful in telling which way we are facing. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

The old ground-level Laramie station on the Garfield Park “L”. The woman on the platform may be using the scale (shown in another picture taken at this station) to weigh herself. These generally cost a penny. On some of these, if you could successfully guess your weight, you got your penny back. We are looking east. The “L” went up a ramp from here to reach the Cicero station. The water tank at right shows up in a lot of these pictures, and is often useful in telling which way we are facing. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

An enlargement of the previous photo. Is this the same penny scale shown on the platform in the next picture?

An enlargement of the previous photo. Is this the same penny scale shown on the platform in the next picture?

CRT 2896 is westbound at Laramie. You can plainly see the penny scale on the platform. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT 2896 is westbound at Laramie. You can plainly see the penny scale on the platform. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT 2721was a tool car, shown here at the Laramie Yards on the Garfield Park branch. According to Don's Rail Photos, "2701 thru 2756 were built by Barney & Smith in 1895 as M-WSER 701 thru 756. In 1913 they were renumbered 2701 thru 2756 and in 1923 they became CRT 2701 thru 2756. 2721 was rebuilt in 1921." (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 2721was a tool car, shown here at the Laramie Yards on the Garfield Park branch. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “2701 thru 2756 were built by Barney & Smith in 1895 as M-WSER 701 thru 756. In 1913 they were renumbered 2701 thru 2756 and in 1923 they became CRT 2701 thru 2756. 2721 was rebuilt in 1921.” (George Trapp Collection)

At first, I had difficulty determining this location, but soon figured out that the station at rear is Laramie on the old Garfield Park "L". I believe we are looking east from Lockwood, where there was a grade crossing. The bulk of the yard was to the east of Laramie, although there were storage tracks for some cars west of Laramie, such as a small area that was once used for mid-day storage of CA&E trains. On the left of the picture, we see CTA buses along Harrison, and the gas station was located at the intersection of Harrison and Laramie. The Eisenhower Expressway is now to the right of this picture. The growth along some of these tracks would seem to indicate they were not being used much for storage by the time this picture was taken in the 1950s. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

At first, I had difficulty determining this location, but soon figured out that the station at rear is Laramie on the old Garfield Park “L”. I believe we are looking east from Lockwood, where there was a grade crossing. The bulk of the yard was to the east of Laramie, although there were storage tracks for some cars west of Laramie, such as a small area that was once used for mid-day storage of CA&E trains. On the left of the picture, we see CTA buses along Harrison, and the gas station was located at the intersection of Harrison and Laramie. The Eisenhower Expressway is now to the right of this picture. The growth along some of these tracks would seem to indicate they were not being used much for storage by the time this picture was taken in the 1950s. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A close-up of the previous picture, showing the intersection of Laramie and Harrison. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A close-up of the previous picture, showing the intersection of Laramie and Harrison. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Laramie and Harrison today. We are looking north.

Laramie and Harrison today. We are looking north.

I believe this photo shows the view looking west from Oak Park Avenue along the old Garfield Park "L". The B&OCT tracks were to the south of the "L", and we can even see a steam locomotive on a siding in the distance, serving businesses to the south. The eastbound and westbound "L" platforms here were on different sides of Oak Park Avenue. In the distance, we can see the next station west at Home Avenue. This is now the location of the Eisenhower Expressway, and all these tracks are now on the south side of the highway at this location, in an open cut. The only freight siding still in use along here is the Ferrara Pan Candy Company in Forest Park, about a mile west of here. (George Trapp Collection)

I believe this photo shows the view looking west from Oak Park Avenue along the old Garfield Park “L”. The B&OCT tracks were to the south of the “L”, and we can even see a steam locomotive on a siding in the distance, serving businesses to the south. The eastbound and westbound “L” platforms here were on different sides of Oak Park Avenue. In the distance, we can see the next station west at Home Avenue. This is now the location of the Eisenhower Expressway, and all these tracks are now on the south side of the highway at this location, in an open cut. The only freight siding still in use along here is the Ferrara Pan Candy Company in Forest Park, about a mile west of here. (George Trapp Collection)

A close-up of the previous picture, showing a steam locomotive coming off a siding on the B&OCT. (George Trapp Collection)

A close-up of the previous picture, showing a steam locomotive coming off a siding on the B&OCT. (George Trapp Collection)

There isn't a lot of freight traffic on the B&OCT these days, but I did catch this short train near the Oak Park CTA station on June 30, 2016.

There isn’t a lot of freight traffic on the B&OCT these days, but I did catch this short train near the Oak Park CTA station on June 30, 2016.

(Photo by David Sadowski)

(Photo by David Sadowski)

The CTA's Garfield Park "L" trains crossed the B&OCT freight tracks at grade between Harlem Avenue and DesPlaines in Forest Park. We are looking west, and the large "gas holder" tank at left was a local landmark for many years. Now, these tracks are grade separated along the Eisenhower Expressway right-of-way. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection) Sean Hunnicutt adds, "Cars 6227-6228."

The CTA’s Garfield Park “L” trains crossed the B&OCT freight tracks at grade between Harlem Avenue and DesPlaines in Forest Park. We are looking west, and the large “gas holder” tank at left was a local landmark for many years. Now, these tracks are grade separated along the Eisenhower Expressway right-of-way. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection) Sean Hunnicutt adds, “Cars 6227-6228.”

The CTA Blue Line and B&OCT cross each other today at more or less the same location they did before the expressway was built, but their tracks are grade separated. The CTA goes under the freight line, then up a ramp to cross over the highway and DesPlaines Avenue before reaching the terminal.

The CTA Blue Line and B&OCT cross each other today at more or less the same location they did before the expressway was built, but their tracks are grade separated. The CTA goes under the freight line, then up a ramp to cross over the highway and DesPlaines Avenue before reaching the terminal.

This photo shows an eastbound two-car Met "L" train at the old DesPlaines Avenue station, which was actually owned by the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin. The station was on the east side of the street, in an area now occupied by the Eisenhower Expressway. (George Trapp Collection)

This photo shows an eastbound two-car Met “L” train at the old DesPlaines Avenue station, which was actually owned by the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin. The station was on the east side of the street, in an area now occupied by the Eisenhower Expressway. (George Trapp Collection)

More or less the same location today. The old DesPlaines station would be somewhere in today's highway, off to the right. Today's Blue Line crosses the highway and goes off a bit to the north to its present-day terminal. West of here, the expressway crosses over the DesPlaines River using an expanded version of the old Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban right-of-way. As part of construction, the CA&E trackage was moved slightly to the north, and work was completed by 1959 but the new tracks were never used.

More or less the same location today. The old DesPlaines station would be somewhere in today’s highway, off to the right. Today’s Blue Line crosses the highway and goes off a bit to the north to its present-day terminal. West of here, the expressway crosses over the DesPlaines River using an expanded version of the old Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban right-of-way. As part of construction, the CA&E trackage was moved slightly to the north, and work was completed by 1959 but the new tracks were never used.

This picture may show where the Westchester branch diverged from the CA&E main line (here running parallel to the CGW) in Bellwood. If so, we are looking east. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

This picture may show where the Westchester branch diverged from the CA&E main line (here running parallel to the CGW) in Bellwood. If so, we are looking east. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

mdfranklinnascar writes: "The white house in the background is still there at 3510 St Paul Ave, Bellwood."

mdfranklinnascar writes: “The white house in the background is still there at 3510 St Paul Ave, Bellwood.”

The CRT Westchester branch at Roosevelt Road, circa 1929-1930. Service along this line opened in 1926, and when the line was extended, local officials insisted that tracks not cross Roosevelt at grade, thereby necessitating this grade separation project. The platform at left was later moved into the open cut, although the original station house was retained. Service to Mannheim began in 1930. The line was abandoned in 1951. We are looking north. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

The CRT Westchester branch at Roosevelt Road, circa 1929-1930. Service along this line opened in 1926, and when the line was extended, local officials insisted that tracks not cross Roosevelt at grade, thereby necessitating this grade separation project. The platform at left was later moved into the open cut, although the original station house was retained. Service to Mannheim began in 1930. The line was abandoned in 1951. We are looking north. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

In this April 28, 1929 view, a steam shovel is digging out an underpass for Westchester trains at the Roosevelt Road station. We are looking north. (George Trapp Collection)

In this April 28, 1929 view, a steam shovel is digging out an underpass for Westchester trains at the Roosevelt Road station. We are looking north. (George Trapp Collection)

Westchester trains in storage at the Roosevelt end of the line, circa 1929. (George Trapp Collection)

Westchester trains in storage at the Roosevelt end of the line, circa 1929. (George Trapp Collection)

The CRT Westchester branch, just south of the Roosevelt Road underpass. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

The CRT Westchester branch, just south of the Roosevelt Road underpass. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

This appears to show the CRT Westchester right of way, looking south from Roosevelt Road, where the line extension to Mannheim and 22nd was single track. (George Trapp Collection)

This appears to show the CRT Westchester right of way, looking south from Roosevelt Road, where the line extension to Mannheim and 22nd was single track. (George Trapp Collection)

Westchester trains changing ends south of the Roosevelt Road station. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Westchester trains changing ends south of the Roosevelt Road station. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Since this two-car train of 4000s is using overhead wire and not third rail, this appears to be a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip along the CA&E's Mt. Carmel Branch on February 12, 1939. If so, one of the two cars used was 4317. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Since this two-car train of 4000s is using overhead wire and not third rail, this appears to be a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip along the CA&E’s Mt. Carmel Branch on February 12, 1939. If so, one of the two cars used was 4317. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA experimental high-speed cars 6129-6130 in the "Morgan middle" tracks on the Congress line circa 1960. Fans referred to the cars in this paint scheme as "circus wagons." (George Trapp Collection)

CTA experimental high-speed cars 6129-6130 in the “Morgan middle” tracks on the Congress line circa 1960. Fans referred to the cars in this paint scheme as “circus wagons.” (George Trapp Collection)

CTA high-speed cars 1-3 and 6129-6130 on a test run along the Congress line, in the early 1960s. (George Trapp Collection)

CTA high-speed cars 1-3 and 6129-6130 on a test run along the Congress line, in the early 1960s. (George Trapp Collection)

CTA 6698 at DesPlaines Avenue terminal in June 1963. The track at right, where an old wooden "L" car is being used as an office, was originally intended for use by CA&E trains, if service could have resumed in 1959. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA 6698 at DesPlaines Avenue terminal in June 1963. The track at right, where an old wooden “L” car is being used as an office, was originally intended for use by CA&E trains, if service could have resumed in 1959. (George Trapp Photo)

DesPlaines Avenue in June 1963. (George Trapp Photo)

DesPlaines Avenue in June 1963. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA 6698 at DesPlaines Avenue terminal in June 1963. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA 6698 at DesPlaines Avenue terminal in June 1963. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA single-car unit 8 at Logan Square terminal in the Fall of 1963. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA single-car unit 8 at Logan Square terminal in the Fall of 1963. (George Trapp Photo)

In this 1963 view at Logan Square, we see cars in the 6551-6600 series at left, in fresh paint, next to others from the 6601-6670 series at right in their original paint. (George Trapp Photo)

In this 1963 view at Logan Square, we see cars in the 6551-6600 series at left, in fresh paint, next to others from the 6601-6670 series at right in their original paint. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA 6705-6706 at Logan Square in 1963. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA 6705-6706 at Logan Square in 1963. (George Trapp Photo)


Bonus Photo:

This picture is not from the George Trapp Collection, but we thought it would fit in well with the others here nonetheless:

A two-car Met "L" train crosses the Chicago River just west of the Loop in July 1951.

A two-car Met “L” train crosses the Chicago River just west of the Loop in July 1951.


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Owen Davies, Bookseller Extraordinaire

Owen Davies in 1951.

Owen Davies in 1951.

A typical Owen Davies Bookseller advertisement, from the February 1, 1970 Chicago Tribune.

A typical Owen Davies Bookseller advertisement, from the February 1, 1970 Chicago Tribune.

Ask any Chicago-area railfan “of a certain age” about the late Owen Davies and his bookstore, and you are bound to hear tales of a marvelous cave-like place, packed from floor to ceiling with books and railroadiana of all conceivable types.  Owen Davies himself (real name David Owen Davies) lived from 1910 to 1968, although in one form or another, his shop continued on for another 25 years.

To paraphrase Will Rogers, I don’t think my dad ever met a book store that he did not like, and in my childhood years, he took me to all sorts as he rummaged around looking for postcards, old newspapers, books, magazines, and what-not.  It’s very possible I went in the Owen Davies shop at 1214 N. LaSalle, which was located in what some have described as a “ramshackle” old townhouse (however, one now valued at $1.6m).  I am quite certain I visited it after it later moved to Oak Park.

There was a time when the Chicago area was simply littered with used book stores.  Before there was such a thing as the World Wide Web, if you wanted to buy a book, and it was out of print, chances are the only way to find it was to make the rounds of as many shops as you could find, scouring multitudes of shelves, getting your fingers dirty.  If you were lucky enough to find what you were looking for, you had to pay what the shop keeper was asking.  Nowadays, you can find just about any book you want in seconds via the Internet, and can choose between multiple sellers and their various prices.  We have it easy today in that respect.

How did David O. Davies become Owen Davies?  Well, there is an intriguing literary allusion.  In the novel Beatrice by H. Rider Haggard (1856-1925), first published in 1890, there is a character named Owen Davies, who is described as having one of the best libraries in Wales, and “gave orders to a London bookseller to forward him every new book of importance that appeared in certain classes of literature.”

Coincidence?  Maybe.  But it’s possible that David Davies decided that Owen Davies was a more appropriate name for a bookseller, and one who would practically corner the market in railroad books.  (Another possibility, of course, is he simply did not like the first name he was given, and adopted his middle name instead, like James Paul McCartney and many other people.)

The Chicago Tribune’s Will Leonard profiled Owen Davies in his Tower Ticker column on August 10, 1951:

Half Minutes With Handy Merchants:  Do you need a Chicago street car transfer good for a ride only on March 9, 1908?  Or an 1892 timetable for the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern railroad?  Or an annual pass good for all trains on the long abandoned Nevada County Narrow Gauge?  Or a share of stock in the defunct Waterville & Wiscasset?  Or a copy of Bradshaw’s European railway guide for 1886?  The man to see is Owen Davies, a bookseller who caters almost exclusively to the demented desires of that quaint and colorful character, the rail fan.

Davies’ shop occupies the parlor and dining room of the house at 1214 N. LaSalle st., which back in the ’90s was the home of Henry L. Regensburg, grocer and society figure.  Today the walls are lined with volumes narrating the history of the iron horse, the corporate complications of individual lines, the biographies of the Goulds and Fisks and Vanderbilts and lesser leaders.  For decoration there are ancient travel posters, photos of vanished interurban lines zipping thru rights-of-way long since buried in woods, obsolete maps, handsomely engraved and utterly worthless stock certificates.

Did we say utterly worthless?  This litter is prized by the precisians who comprise Davies’ mailing list.  A transfer issued by a conductor on a Chicago cable car 45 or 50 years ago is worth 10 cents.  The going price for annual passes is about a dollar, the Davies recently sold an 1858 pass good on the Galena & Chicago Union, predecessor of the Chicago & Northwestern, for $5.  Timetables of the ’20s are worth a dollar or more; those of the ’80s and ’90s may range as high as $7.50 or $10.  Next time you clean out the attic, take a second look at anything even remotely suggesting a former association with a railroad.  Davies can find somebody to buy it.

He rides the trains himself, sheds a tear whenever a propane bus nudges another trolley line into oblivion, takes his kids on rail fan trips around belt lines in the Chicago area, and tries to convince them the horseless carriage isn’t really here to stay.  Every month Davies gets out a catalog filled with warm nostalgia over the halcyon era of lines that have known better days, cold statistics about the rolling stock of railways on every continent, and prices no one but a collector of railroadiana would believe.

Once Davies published a volume himself.  It bore the descriptive tho not dashing title: “Interurban Cars Operating in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan During the Year 1906.”  It contained floor plans, side elevations and tables of dimensions of 22 cars whose trolleys used to hum along the Ft. Wayne, Van Wert & Lima, the Scioto Valley, the Dayton, Covington and Piqua, and the Cincinnati, Milford and Loveland.  Rail fans who have yet to shave bought almost as many copies as did Ohioans and Hoosiers who were voting in 1906.

Davies was 41 years old when this profile appeared, but he had been in the book business for many years.  How did he amass such a great collection at such a young age?  It appears he grew up in it.

David Owen Davies was Chicago born and bred, although his parents were immigrants who spoke German.  They divorced, and his mother Gisella (1875-1957) appears to have started the business that eventually became the used book store.  In 1919, there is a record that she ran a stationary store in Chicago, and the 1930 census indicates they were running a bookstore together.  Owen and Dorothy were married in 1931 and she too became active in the business.

Davies was drafted into the military in 1944, and ran a sale to liquidate some of his inventory at that time.  His shop was then located at 346 N. Clark.  Perhaps he set up shop at 1214 N. LaSalle after the war.

Where did he get his stock?  Anywhere and everywhere, I would imagine.  Advertising helped.  Davies ran regular ads in newspapers and magazines looking for this type of material.  I am sure that, over time, his reputation was large, and people came to him when they had things to sell.

In this pre-Internet era, the catalogs Davies sent out monthly extended the range of his work both nationally, and most likely, internationally.  He also published perhaps half a dozen books himself.  Some were reprints of public domain material, and some were original.

As Fred W. Frailey wrote in 1997:

The bookstore was located in a townhouse on North LaSalle Street in Chicago. I first visited it within a week of moving to Chicago in 1966 and came to know Owen and Dorothy Davies well. The selection of new and old books, public and employee timetables and odds and ends was beyond belief. Occasionally I persuaded Owen to take me to ANOTHER townhouse on North Clark Street that housed his overflow stock and I would frantically search for things to buy while Owen patiently waited.

He was a fine, gentle man and there is nobody I knew then I’d rather have given my money to. I last spoke with Owen about 1970 (Editor’s note: 1968), at a meeting of timetable collectors in downtown Chicago. A day later he was dead of a heart attack. Dorothy Davies still ran the store when I moved to Washington DC in 1974. Five or six years ago I called the store at its Oak Park locale and Doug Wornom, an employee of Owen and later of Dorothy, answered and I recall that Doug said he ran the place.

In my long life I’ve never found the equal of that store for the kind of thing I enjoy–timetables, operations information, little odds and ends. It was within walking distance of the newspaper I worked at in Chicago and a week didn’t go by that I didn’t climb those steps, knowing that if I opened enough boxes I would surely find something I simply had to call my own. The closest I’ve ever found to it is a place on lower Broadway in New York City that is open by appointment only, it seems. As soon as I send this note onward I will remember its name. . .

Alan Follett adds:

Owen Davies died of a heart attack while he and his wife Dorothy were driving home from the first annual convention of the National Association of Timetable Collectors, which was held at the Essex Inn at 11th and Michigan.

After Owen’s death, Douglas C. Wornom was brought in as manager, and for some years ran the business, first at the LaSalle Street townhouse, and later from a location in Oak Park.  I’m not clear on whether he ever actually acquired an ownership interest in the bookstore.

After Owen Davies’ death in 1968, his wife continued to run the shop until about 1980, when it was moved to 200 W. Harrison in Oak Park.  The store was bought by author Thomas R. Bullard (1944-93), co-author of CERA Bulletin #137, Faster Than the Limiteds (along with William Shapotkin).  Dorothy Davies died in 1989 at the age of 79.

With Bullard’s untimely passing, the store closed, and its remaining stock, already much smaller than at the Chicago location, was dispersed.  The Owen Davies book store is gone more than 20 years now, but it certainly has not been forgotten.

The legacy of Owen Davies lives on in the hearts and minds of all railfans and all lovers of books and used book stores, everywhere.  We salute him.

-David Sadowski

PS- As an example of the dedication of Davies, his employees, and successors, here is a letter written by longtime Oak Park railfan Charles Stats after Bullard died in 1993.

Here also are some additional reminiscences of Owen Davies and his store on the Classic Trains magazine web site.

In 1967, Owen Davies reprinted a short book called Chicago Elevated Railroads Consolidation of Operations, first published in 1913. In tribute to Owen Davies, we have digitized this, along with a 1928 publication of the Chicago Tunnel Company. Both are available on DVD data disc in our online store.

The townhouse at 1214 N. LaSalle as it looks today.

The townhouse at 1214 N. LaSalle as it looks today.

1944 advertisement circular.

1944 advertisement circular.

1944 advertisement circular.

1944 advertisement circular.

1944 advertisement circular.

1944 advertisement circular.

An Owen Davies flyer for one of his publications, 1963.

An Owen Davies flyer for one of his publications, 1963.

An Owen Davies catalog circa 1963.

An Owen Davies catalog circa 1963.

An Owen Davies catalog circa 1963.

An Owen Davies catalog circa 1963.

Owen Davies published this reprint in 1967, a year before his untimely death at the age of 58.

Owen Davies published this reprint in 1967, a year before his untimely death at the age of 58.

The Index to the 1913 book Chicago Elevated Railroads Consolidation of Operations.

The Index to the 1913 book Chicago Elevated Railroads Consolidation of Operations.

The building at 200 W. Harrison in Oak Park as it looks today. This was the home of the Owen Davies, Bookseller shop from 1980 to 1993.

The building at 200 W. Harrison in Oak Park as it looks today. This was the home of the Owen Davies, Bookseller shop from 1980 to 1993.

CTA’s Westchester Branch – What Might Have Been

The "Westchester-Maywood" route, from a 1948 CTA map.

The “Westchester-Maywood” route, from a 1948 CTA map.

This 1943 map shows where the Westchester branch ran.

This 1943 map shows where the Westchester branch ran.

Today’s photo essay features pictures of the former Chicago Rapid Transit/Chicago Transit Authority Westchester branch, which ran from 1926 to 1951. You can find an excellent track map here.  (You can also read our follow-up post, showing what traces of the old line are still visible here.)

It’s always interesting to speculate on what “might have been,” especially in the case of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, whose trains ran from 1902 to 1957 in Chicago’s western suburbs. What could have been saved? What should have been saved?  And, what can we learn today?

As you may know, ultimately nothing was saved, except the portion between DesPlaines Avenue and Laramie, which was taken over by the CTA in the early 1950s. That operates today as the outer portion of the Chicago Transit Authority‘s Forest Park branch of the Blue Line.

Speculation usually centers on whether the entire railroad could have been saved, bought by the State of Illinois, or at least, the portion to Wheaton. But in general, this section, the most viable part of the interurban, ran parallel to the Chicago & North Western‘s West Line, which continues to operate today under the aegis of Metra.

The State of Illinois made an offer to buy CA&E in 1956, and then backed out of the deal for various reasons. The only public entity that could have operated any portion of the railroad would have been the CTA, and yet their operating area was limited to most of Cook County.

Still, the CTA did some engineering studies.* In the short run, the idea was to put third rail shoes on some of the remaining PCC streetcars, and run a shuttle service between Forest Park and Wheaton. Just as with the CA&E operations between 1953-57, this would not have been a “one-seat ride” to the Loop.  (Some say these studies were made to demonstrate the impracticality of CTA actually doing it.)

In the long run, CTA would have ordered more new rapid transit cars, high speed versions of the single car units 1-50 that were built in 1960. These type of cars would also have been used if the CTA had been able to take over larger portions of the North Shore Line than the five miles that became the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line) in 1964.

In retrospect, the opening of the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway would have depressed ridership, so there is no way of knowing if such a CTA shuttle service would have been successful. But there was no way to pay for it, in the political context of the time, and therefore these plans were unrealized. But, if it had happened, most likely such a service would today be a treasured part of Chicagoland’s transit infrastructure.

But if we go back a little further in time, incredibly, there was rapid transit service operated by the CTA that ran to Mannheim and 22nd Street as late as 1951. This was the 5.6 mile long Westchester branch, a victim of budget cuts and expressway construction.

The Westchester branch was part of an ambitious mid-1920s Insull plan to create a high-speed CA&E bypass, similar to the North Shore Line’s Skokie Valley Route. However, there was less of a need for it, and by the time the Depression hit and Samuel Insull‘s empire collapsed, only 2.2 miles of it had been built off the CA&E main line, and local service was being provided by the Chicago Rapid Transit Company.

The Depression also put a stop to the pace of housing development in Bellwood and Westchester, as it had in Niles Center, where the CRT ran local service in a similar fashion. The “build it, and they will come” strategy was not unusual at the time, and had been successfully followed some years earlier when rapid transit service was extended to the Ravenswood neighborhood.

With the CRT in receivership, things remained “status quo” until the creation of the Chicago Transit Authority, which took over operations on October 1, 1947. In these heady early days, it was thought that modernization would reaped quick benefits, and there were efforts by the CTA to improve service to outlying areas, with the creation of extension bus lines and express buses.

Within a few years, however, there was nothing but red ink, and without taxing authority, the cash-strapped CTA had no choice but to cut unprofitable services wherever possible. The lightly-used Westchester branch was an obvious target for elimination, since CTA was a tenant, paying rent to the CA&E, who owned the tracks.

From CTA’s point of view, they saved money by eliminating rapid transit service west of DesPlaines Avenue, and tried to retain whatever ridership was there with replacement bus service, creating the #17 route, which continued to run for decades (and has now been completely replaced by parallel Pace suburban bus service, the #317).

Expressway construction was also a factor. The CA&E and CTA shared each other’s tracks, and compensated each other in turn. By the early 1950’s, these payments totaled about $250,000 per year and largely cancelled each other out. But a 2.5 mile section of the CTA’s Garfield Park/Met “L” would need to be relocated for five years, since it ran smack dab in the middle of where the Congress expressway would be built.

After nearly 50 years of joint operation on Chicago’s west side, coordinating the plethora of daily CTA and CA&E trains was difficult at best, and required near split-second timing. Schedules were complicated and there were various passing sidings, where expresses would be routed ahead of locals.

The CTA (and the City of Chicago’s) original idea for relocating Garfield service was for a wooden “L” structure along Van Buren Street. Presumably this grade separated service would have been fine with the CA&E, but the local alderman objected, and rather than face a lawsuit, which would have delayed the project, the City Council turned to Plan B– grade level rapid transit service, bisected by several cross streets.

This was originally promoted as a “street railway” service, which may be how they justified not using crossing gates. At first, it was thought that overhead wire could be used, but the Met cars did not have trolley poles, and this would have involved shifting around a lot of equipment. So, ultimately, the Van Buren Street temporary trackage used third rail without any more crossing protection than stop lights.

In 1951, CA&E management decided that this plan was unworkable for them, and would cause too many problems for efficient and safe operation. In a letter to their shareholders, CA&E proposed elimination of rail service on the interurban (presumably, freight service would continue), to be replaced by buses that would take riders from the western suburbs to the CTA Lake Street and Douglas Park “L”s.

CTA, for their part, anticipating that CA&E would soon become a bus operator only, began planning for a bus-to-rail transfer point between CA&E and CTA. At first, it was thought this would take place at Central Avenue, a point just west of where CTA’s own rails ended. But by 1953, this transfer point was moved west to DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park.

Meanwhile, existing bus operators in the western suburbs had successfully blocked CA&E’s plans to substitute bus service for rail. Therefore, they had no real alternative to cutting back rail service to DesPlaines Avenue. This is how service was operated from September 1953 to July 1957. By then, CA&E ridership had been decimated, adn the railroad successfully petitioned to “temporarily” abandon rail service.

The abandonment actually helped facilitate expressway construction near the DesPlaines River, since no temporary service would need to be built. The railroad, in a sense, was still “made whole,” since by 1959 new rails were put in place for a connection to the CTA DesPlaines terminal. These are plainly visible in an aerial view in the 1961 CTA Annual Report, but they were never used, and the CA&E did not resume regular passenger service, and was liquidated in 1961. Attempts to save the interurban were too little, too late, and the suburbs that would have benefited from continuing service refused to contribute with tax revenue.

Between 1948 and 1957, the CTA eliminated about 25% of the rapid transit system it had inherited from CRT. This was mainly by slashing lightly-used branch lines (Stockyards, Kenwood, Humboldt Park, Normal Park, Niles Center, and Westchester). At one point, the CTA even proposed turning over the Evanston branch to the North Shore Line, but this did not happen.

By 1964, it seems the CTA had changed its mind about branch lines, for in April of that year, the phenomenally successful Skokie Swift service began running between Dempster and Howard, over five miles of former CNS&M right-of-way. By this time, some federal funding was available through a pilot program. CTA had to buy half of the Swift trackage anyway, just to access Skokie Shops.

Here, the CTA used fast, frequent service and a large park-and-ride lot to attract riders. And although it scarcely seems possible that the Westchester branch could have been saved in 1951, it would really fill a need today.

Imagine a west side corollary to the Skokie Swift.

By the early 50s, Bellwood and Westchester were prime areas for the postwar housing boom. This is especially true since these areas would soon have access to an important new highway. Growth in Westchester was being held back, however, since the same developer that had owned much of the property since the 1920s wanted to build all the housing themselves, thereby limiting construction somewhat.

After the CTA abandoned the Westchester branch, the CA&E liquidated the property, and the proceeds were distributed to the shareholders, instead of being reinvested in the money-losing railroad. This was the first of CA&E’s large-scale liquidations, where various portions of the railroad were sold to benefit the stockholders.

Getting back to what “might have been,” imagine how well the CTA would be doing today, if it had built a large park-and-ride lot at Mannheim and 22nd Street in the 1950s and kept the Westchester branch. As the area boomed in the mid-1950s, this service would have had tremendous potential.

And while this did not come to pass, the need persists, and something like a replacement for the Westchester branch may still be in CTA’s future. The Illinois Department of Transportation is working on plans for expanding and improving I-290 in the western suburbs, as the Chicago Tribune reported on February 27, 2013:

State transportation officials presented a narrowed list of four proposals that they say will improve travel on the Eisenhower Expressway, all of which include adding a lane to the highway and also extending the CTA Blue Line.

The four proposals, all of which include widening the highway between Austin Boulevard and Mannheim Road, extending the Blue Line to Mannheim and express bus service extending westward from Mannheim, were presented to a community task force. They will be further evaluated by state transportation officials as they study ways to make Interstate Highway 290 more efficient, said a manager of the project, Peter Harmet, bureau chief of programming for the Illinois Department of Transportation.

So, what “might have been,” may still be yet. We shall see.

-David Sadowski

PS- Christopher J. Lemm writes:

After reading your January 2015 story on the CTA Westchester Branch, the picture of the train crossing Madison street in Bellwood brought back some great memories. I grew up in that house, my grandfather was Clarence Lemm, track foreman for the Aurora and Elgin Railroad, he died in 1936. My father followed in grandpa’s footsteps, he worked at CTA 43 years, he started as a clerk and retired as the head of insurance and pensions. When my brother and I were very young my dad would take us for rides on the Aurora and Elgin, he used grandpa’s Sunset Lines employee pin and we all road free of charge. Thank you for some great memories!

According to transit historian Art Peterson:

CTA prepared studies for operation of both the CA&E (from Wheaton to Desplaines Av.) and for the North Shore from the Loop to Waukegan.  The CA&E study was based on use of the pre-War PCCs; for the North Shore it would have been higher-performance rapid transit PCC cars and an A/B service pattern up the Skokie Valley.  Both went no place, for lack of suitable funding sources.  CTA was prepared to accommodate CA&E in the Congress-Dearborn-Milwaukee subway (the west side connection to that opened on June 22, 1958, by which time CA&E was freight only.)

Some knowledgeable sources reported that CTA retained a section of the Humboldt Park Branch after the “L” shuttle service quit running in the E50s, to use as a CA&E turnback/layup facility.  Humboldt Park was the “L” line that ran parallel and to the north of North Avenue, joining the Milwaukee Avenue “L” line at the North/Damen station.

I believe we are looking east near Central Avenue, where the line curved around the south end of Columbus Park. This is approximately where the CTA Blue Line goes through the Lotus Tunnel. A small portion of Columbus Park soon gave way to the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway.

I believe we are looking east near Central Avenue, where the line curved around the south end of Columbus Park. This is approximately where the CTA Blue Line goes through the Lotus Tunnel. A small portion of Columbus Park soon gave way to the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway.

An eastbound single car near Central Avenue, at the south end of Columbus Park, now the site of the Eisenhower expressway.

An eastbound single car near Central Avenue, at the south end of Columbus Park, now the site of the Eisenhower expressway.

The passing tracks in this photo are a clue that we are near the Gunderson Avenue station in Oak Park. The Forest Park gas tank is at rear, so we are looking west.

The passing tracks in this photo are a clue that we are near the Gunderson Avenue station in Oak Park. The Forest Park gas tank is at rear, so we are looking west.

Looking west where the rapid transit crossed the B&OCT. Behind the car, the freight line branched off in two directions, to the CGW and Soo Line.

Looking west where the rapid transit crossed the B&OCT. Behind the car, the freight line branched off in two directions, to the CGW and Soo Line.

A pair of Met cars crosses the B&OCT heading east. This has since been grade separated. The gas tank in the background was a Forest Park landmark for many years.

A pair of Met cars crosses the B&OCT heading east. This has since been grade separated. The gas tank in the background was a Forest Park landmark for many years.