May Showers

On October 10, 1952, an eastbound five-car Garfield Park "L" train approaches Western Avenue, where photographer William C. Hoffman was standing. The temporary trackage on Van Buren Street, visible at right, was then under construction.

On October 10, 1952, an eastbound five-car Garfield Park “L” train approaches Western Avenue, where photographer William C. Hoffman was standing. The temporary trackage on Van Buren Street, visible at right, was then under construction.

April showers, as they say, bring May flowers. That kind of fits today’s post, since there is always a lot of preliminary work involved in what we do. In fact, you could say we have been working on this one for a month.

It’s finally taken root, and now you can stop and smell the roses! We have about 100 classic traction photos for you to enjoy.  Most are our own, and some are from the collections of our friend William Shapotkin.

We also have two new products available. You can pre-order our new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s, and also purchase A Tribute to the North Shore Line, a two-hour DVD presentation put together in 2013 by the late Jeffrey L. Wien and Bradley Criss.

-David Sadowski

PS- FYI, we have a Facebook auxiliary for the Trolley Dodger here, which currently has 320 members.

Our Latest Book, Now Available for Pre-Order:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

Arcadia Publishing will release our new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s on July 12, 2021. Reserve your copy today!

From the back cover:

Chicago’s system of elevated railways, known locally as the “L,” has run continuously since 1892 and, like the city, has never stood still. It helped neighborhoods grow, brought their increasingly diverse populations together, and gave the famous Loop its name. But today’s system has changed radically over the years. Chicago’s Lost “L”s tells the story of former lines such as Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Kenwood, Stockyards, Normal Park, Westchester, and Niles Center. It was once possible to take high-speed trains on the L directly to Aurora, Elgin, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The L started out as four different companies, two starting out using steam engines instead of electricity. Eventually, all four came together via the Union Loop. The L is more than a way of getting around. Its trains are a place where people meet and interact. Some say the best way to experience the city is via the L, with its second-story view. Chicago’s Lost “L”s is virtually a “secret history” of Chicago, and this is your ticket. David Sadowski grew up riding the L all over the city. He is the author of Chicago Trolleys and Building Chicago’s Subways and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog.

The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

Title Chicago’s Lost “L”s
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2021
ISBN 1467100007, 9781467100007
Length 128 pages

Chapters:
01. The South Side “L”
02. The Lake Street “L”
03. The Metropolitan “L”
04. The Northwestern “L”
05. The Union Loop
06. Lost Equipment
07. Lost Interurbans
08. Lost Terminals
09. Lost… and Found

Each copy purchased here will be signed by the author, and you will also receive a bonus facsimile of a 1926 Chicago Rapid Transit Company map, with interesting facts about the “L” on the reverse side.

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

NEW DVD:

A Tribute to the North Shore Line

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the demise of the fabled North Shore Line interurban in January 2013, Jeffrey L. Wien and Bradley Criss made a very thorough and professional video presentation, covering the entire route between Chicago and Milwaukee and then some. Sadly, both men are gone now, but their work remains, making this video a tribute to them, as much as it is a tribute to the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee.

Jeff drew on his own vast collections of movie films, both his own and others such as the late William C. Hoffman, wrote and gave the narration. Bradley acted as video editor, and added authentic sound effects from archival recordings of the North Shore Line.

It was always Jeff’s intention to make this video available to the public, but unfortunately, this did not happen in his lifetime. Now, as the caretakers of Jeff’s railfan legacy, we are proud to offer this excellent two-hour program to you for the first time.  The result is a fitting tribute to what Jeff called his “Perpetual Adoration,” which was the name of a stop on the interurban.

Jeff was a wholehearted supporter of our activities, and the proceeds from the sale of this disc will help defray some of the expenses of keeping the Trolley Dodger web site going.

Total time – 121:22

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.99 (Includes shipping within the United States)

Recent Finds

The LaSalle Street tunnel under the Chicago River, shown prior to when it was rebuilt for use by cable cars in the 1880s. It had opened on July 4, 1871. This is one-half of a stereo photo.

The LaSalle Street tunnel under the Chicago River, shown prior to when it was rebuilt for use by cable cars in the 1880s. It had opened on July 4, 1871. This is one-half of a stereo photo.

A northbound Jackson Park-Howard "B: train descends into the State Street Subway sometime in the 1970s. A Lake-Dan Ryan train, made up of 2000s and 2200s, is on the nearby "L" structure.

A northbound Jackson Park-Howard “B: train descends into the State Street Subway sometime in the 1970s. A Lake-Dan Ryan train, made up of 2000s and 2200s, is on the nearby “L” structure.

An Englewood-Howard "A" train of 6000s in the State Street Subway in the 1970s.

An Englewood-Howard “A” train of 6000s in the State Street Subway in the 1970s.

This photo, showing a South Shore Line train running in the street in East Chicago, Indiana, must have been taken just prior to the relocation of these tracks in 1956. Since then, they have run next to the Indiana Toll Road. The location is on Chicago Street at Magoun Avenue, less than a mile east of the Indiana Toll Road. The train appears to be heading east. That's a 1955 or '56 Buick at left across the street.

This photo, showing a South Shore Line train running in the street in East Chicago, Indiana, must have been taken just prior to the relocation of these tracks in 1956. Since then, they have run next to the Indiana Toll Road. The location is on Chicago Street at Magoun Avenue, less than a mile east of the Indiana Toll Road. The train appears to be heading east. That’s a 1955 or ’56 Buick at left across the street.

The same location today.

The same location today.

J. W. Vigrass took this photo along the Red Arrow's West Chester line on May 29, 1954, just about a week before buses replaced trolleys. This long side-of-the-road interurban fell victim to a project that widened West Chester Pike.

J. W. Vigrass took this photo along the Red Arrow’s West Chester line on May 29, 1954, just about a week before buses replaced trolleys. This long side-of-the-road interurban fell victim to a project that widened West Chester Pike.

This may not be the sharpest picture, but it is an original Ektachrome slide shot by the late George Krambles. It shows North Shore Line 181 approaching Libertyville along the Mundelein branch on February 11, 1962.

This may not be the sharpest picture, but it is an original Ektachrome slide shot by the late George Krambles. It shows North Shore Line 181 approaching Libertyville along the Mundelein branch on February 11, 1962.

A North Shore Line train in North Chicago, sometime in the 1950s. This was an Ektachrome slide that had shifted to red, and I was fortunate to be able to color correct it in Photoshop. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

A North Shore Line train in North Chicago, sometime in the 1950s. This was an Ektachrome slide that had shifted to red, and I was fortunate to be able to color correct it in Photoshop. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

This photo did not come with any information, but it is a fantrip held on the Red Arrow's West Chester trolley line on June 6, 1954, when the line was replaced by buses. We previously posted a color image taken at this photo stop, where the location was given as either Milltown or Mill Farm, the handwriting was difficult to make out. Apparently one of the three cars shown here broke down and had to be towed by one of the others.

This photo did not come with any information, but it is a fantrip held on the Red Arrow’s West Chester trolley line on June 6, 1954, when the line was replaced by buses. We previously posted a color image taken at this photo stop, where the location was given as either Milltown or Mill Farm, the handwriting was difficult to make out. Apparently one of the three cars shown here broke down and had to be towed by one of the others.

Another photo of the South Shore Line in East Chicago in 1956. My guess is, this is the same location as the other photo, just looking the other way.

Another photo of the South Shore Line in East Chicago in 1956. My guess is, this is the same location as the other photo, just looking the other way.

We recently posted a color image, similar to this and taken at the same location, shot in 1955 by William C. Hoffman. This is most likely from the same general time period, as prewar PCC 7003 is running on Western Avenue. The prewar cars ran here from 1955-56 after they had been on the Cottage Grove line, converted to one-man operation. The "L" train is running on the Garfield Park temporary trackage in Van Buren Street, which was used from 1953-58.

We recently posted a color image, similar to this and taken at the same location, shot in 1955 by William C. Hoffman. This is most likely from the same general time period, as prewar PCC 7003 is running on Western Avenue. The prewar cars ran here from 1955-56 after they had been on the Cottage Grove line, converted to one-man operation. The “L” train is running on the Garfield Park temporary trackage in Van Buren Street, which was used from 1953-58.

A view looking west along the Lake Street "L" sometime during the 1950s. The "L" ran in one direction then (counter-clockwise), so both the "L" train and North Shore Line train are heading west, away from the photographer. That's Tower 18 behind the train of 4000s, before it was replaced in 1969.

A view looking west along the Lake Street “L” sometime during the 1950s. The “L” ran in one direction then (counter-clockwise), so both the “L” train and North Shore Line train are heading west, away from the photographer. That’s Tower 18 behind the train of 4000s, before it was replaced in 1969.

Another photo taken at the same location in East Chicago in 1956. Here, we see a westbound train on Chicago Street at Magoun Avenue.

Another photo taken at the same location in East Chicago in 1956. Here, we see a westbound train on Chicago Street at Magoun Avenue.

The view looking west along Lake Street from the front window of a North Shore Line train in July 1960. This was during the period when the Loop "L" ran in one direction, so the train we see near Tower 18 was also heading west. Soon, this North Shore Line train would turn north. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

The view looking west along Lake Street from the front window of a North Shore Line train in July 1960. This was during the period when the Loop “L” ran in one direction, so the train we see near Tower 18 was also heading west. Soon, this North Shore Line train would turn north. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

J. W. Vigrass took this picture looking out the front window of a northbound North Shore Line train approaching Armitage in July 1960, near the north portal to the State Street Subway.

J. W. Vigrass took this picture looking out the front window of a northbound North Shore Line train approaching Armitage in July 1960, near the north portal to the State Street Subway.

J. W. Vigrass shot this photo of the Red Arrow operating along West Chester Pike on May 29, 1954. Much of the line was single track, and here we are at a passing siding.

J. W. Vigrass shot this photo of the Red Arrow operating along West Chester Pike on May 29, 1954. Much of the line was single track, and here we are at a passing siding.

On August 4, 1955, a westbound Garfield Park "L" train of 4000s ascends the ramp up to the "L" near Van Buren and Mozart (just west of California Avenue). East of here, the Garfield Park temporary trackage ran in the south half of Van Buren. Here, you can see the streetcar tracks in Van Buren, last used in 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On August 4, 1955, a westbound Garfield Park “L” train of 4000s ascends the ramp up to the “L” near Van Buren and Mozart (just west of California Avenue). East of here, the Garfield Park temporary trackage ran in the south half of Van Buren. Here, you can see the streetcar tracks in Van Buren, last used in 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The same location today.

The same location today.

This started out as an Anscocolor slide, but there was so little color left in it that I had no choice but to convert it to black-and-white. This is the view looking west from the Racine "L" station, on the Met main line, on February 26, 1954, showing a three-point switch leading to the Throop Street Shops, which would be demolished within a few months. While Garfield Park trains no longer took this path, Douglas Park trains still did, until April 1954, when that line was re-routed downtown via the Lake Street "L". (William C. Hoffman Photo)

This started out as an Anscocolor slide, but there was so little color left in it that I had no choice but to convert it to black-and-white. This is the view looking west from the Racine “L” station, on the Met main line, on February 26, 1954, showing a three-point switch leading to the Throop Street Shops, which would be demolished within a few months. While Garfield Park trains no longer took this path, Douglas Park trains still did, until April 1954, when that line was re-routed downtown via the Lake Street “L”. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

William C. Hoffman took this photo of what was then a new illuminated sign in the State Street Subway on March 6, 1955.

William C. Hoffman took this photo of what was then a new illuminated sign in the State Street Subway on March 6, 1955.

This Clark Frazier photo of San Francisco Muni "Iron Monster" 207 was processed in March 1958, which is about when Kodak started date-stamping slide mounts. This is surely among the last photos of this car in service. 207 has just changed ends in a then-new wye at the end of the M line.

This Clark Frazier photo of San Francisco Muni “Iron Monster” 207 was processed in March 1958, which is about when Kodak started date-stamping slide mounts. This is surely among the last photos of this car in service. 207 has just changed ends in a then-new wye at the end of the M line.

A two-car CTA Garfield Park "L" train stops at Tripp Avenue on March 11, 1956. This was one of the stations that was not in the way of expressway construction, and continued in service until June 21, 1958, when the new Congress rapid transit line opened. These cars were part of the first group of 4000s built by the Cincinnati Car Company circa 1915. The center doors were never used in service and were blocked off. The head car is 4238. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A two-car CTA Garfield Park “L” train stops at Tripp Avenue on March 11, 1956. This was one of the stations that was not in the way of expressway construction, and continued in service until June 21, 1958, when the new Congress rapid transit line opened. These cars were part of the first group of 4000s built by the Cincinnati Car Company circa 1915. The center doors were never used in service and were blocked off. The head car is 4238. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A Chicago Surface Lines bus stop sign in Chicago's Loop on July 18, 1951. Interestingly, the late Jeff Wien had just such a sign in his collection. Not sure if it is an original or a copy, though.

A Chicago Surface Lines bus stop sign in Chicago’s Loop on July 18, 1951. Interestingly, the late Jeff Wien had just such a sign in his collection. Not sure if it is an original or a copy, though.

I assume this is Altoona & Logan Valley car 62 in the early 1950s. Not sure what the two former railroad coaches are at left, repurposed after their retirement.

I assume this is Altoona & Logan Valley car 62 in the early 1950s. Not sure what the two former railroad coaches are at left, repurposed after their retirement.

Again, I assume this is Altoona & Logan Valley. Cars 70 and 72 meet, and both are Osgood Bradley "Electromobiles" from 1930. Hardly any of these types of cars have survived.

Again, I assume this is Altoona & Logan Valley. Cars 70 and 72 meet, and both are Osgood Bradley “Electromobiles” from 1930. Hardly any of these types of cars have survived.

Altoona & Logan Valley 72 at an unknown location.

Altoona & Logan Valley 72 at an unknown location.

Here, CTA 4000s are heading west on Van Buren Street temporary trackage on April 14, 1957. We are looking to the northwest, and the photographer was riding in a Douglas Park "L" train along Paulina. Douglas trains ran here from 1954-58, and do so now, as part of the rechristened CTA Pink Line.

Here, CTA 4000s are heading west on Van Buren Street temporary trackage on April 14, 1957. We are looking to the northwest, and the photographer was riding in a Douglas Park “L” train along Paulina. Douglas trains ran here from 1954-58, and do so now, as part of the rechristened CTA Pink Line.

While not the sharpest picture, this does show one of the two Liberty Liners (former North Shore Line Electroliners) on the Norristown line on January 26, 1964, their debut just one year after the demise of the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee. The bridge crosses the Schuylkill River.

While not the sharpest picture, this does show one of the two Liberty Liners (former North Shore Line Electroliners) on the Norristown line on January 26, 1964, their debut just one year after the demise of the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee. The bridge crosses the Schuylkill River.

Another Red Arrow photo along West Chester Pike, taken on May 29, 1954 by J. W. Vigrass.

Another Red Arrow photo along West Chester Pike, taken on May 29, 1954 by J. W. Vigrass.

A southbound Bullet car at Bryn Mawr station in August 1961, on the Norristown line. (G. H. Landau Photo)

A southbound Bullet car at Bryn Mawr station in August 1961, on the Norristown line. (G. H. Landau Photo)

The entrance to the high point of the Angel's Flight Railway, a funicular on the side of a hill in Los Angeles, prior to when this operation was closed in 1969, dismantled, and put into storage for many years. It has since been relocated and reopened. This hill was a victim of a redevelopment project.

The entrance to the high point of the Angel’s Flight Railway, a funicular on the side of a hill in Los Angeles, prior to when this operation was closed in 1969, dismantled, and put into storage for many years. It has since been relocated and reopened. This hill was a victim of a redevelopment project.

This undated photo of North Shore Line train 172 in Waukegan must have been taken prior to this line's abandonment in July 1955.

This undated photo of North Shore Line train 172 in Waukegan must have been taken prior to this line’s abandonment in July 1955.

The view looking west from the Western Avenue "L" station on the Garfield Park "L" on August 19, 1953. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking west from the Western Avenue “L” station on the Garfield Park “L” on August 19, 1953. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On August 19, 1953, an eastbound five-car Garfield Park "L" train approaches the Western Avenue station, just out of view to the right. The area had been cleared for construction of the Congress Expressway. The excavated area has filled up with rain. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On August 19, 1953, an eastbound five-car Garfield Park “L” train approaches the Western Avenue station, just out of view to the right. The area had been cleared for construction of the Congress Expressway. The excavated area has filled up with rain. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On July 2, 1950, a westbound single-car Garfield Park "L" train is near California Avenue. Soon this entire area would be cleared out to make way for the Congress Expressway. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On July 2, 1950, a westbound single-car Garfield Park “L” train is near California Avenue. Soon this entire area would be cleared out to make way for the Congress Expressway. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

It's October 20, 1953, and we are looking west from the Marshfield station on the Metropolitan main line. The Garfield Park "L" tracks west of here are out of service and the tracks have already been removed. The platform at right had been used by the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban, and the sign advertising that has been covered up. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

It’s October 20, 1953, and we are looking west from the Marshfield station on the Metropolitan main line. The Garfield Park “L” tracks west of here are out of service and the tracks have already been removed. The platform at right had been used by the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban, and the sign advertising that has been covered up. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On November 10, 1953, this is the view looking west from Marshfield. The Garfield Park "L" structure has already been removed to some extent west of here, due to construction of the Congress Expressway. The Douglas Park "L" was still using the old structure east of here, and would continue to do so until April 1954, when a new connection to the Lake Street "L" was finished. The Douglas Park "L" tracks here go off to the left. The new connection, going north-south, spans the width of the highway and connects to the "L" structure that had been used by Logan Square and Humboldt Park trains until 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On November 10, 1953, this is the view looking west from Marshfield. The Garfield Park “L” structure has already been removed to some extent west of here, due to construction of the Congress Expressway. The Douglas Park “L” was still using the old structure east of here, and would continue to do so until April 1954, when a new connection to the Lake Street “L” was finished. The Douglas Park “L” tracks here go off to the left. The new connection, going north-south, spans the width of the highway and connects to the “L” structure that had been used by Logan Square and Humboldt Park trains until 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking west from the former Western Avenue station on the Garfield Park "L" on October 16, 1953. The "L" tracks have already been removed and demolition of the station would follow shortly. The last train ran on this structure (in one direction) on September 27. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking west from the former Western Avenue station on the Garfield Park “L” on October 16, 1953. The “L” tracks have already been removed and demolition of the station would follow shortly. The last train ran on this structure (in one direction) on September 27. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A North Shore Line fantrip train on February 19, 1961. Not sure of the location, or who the conductor is at left.

A North Shore Line fantrip train on February 19, 1961. Not sure of the location, or who the conductor is at left.

This undated photo by the late Mel Bernero was taken at the old CTA Logan Square terminal, looking east.

This undated photo by the late Mel Bernero was taken at the old CTA Logan Square terminal, looking east.

This shows the Garfield Park "L" station at Oak Park Avenue, before the construction of the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway. The view looks to the northeast. The buildings just to the north are still there.

This shows the Garfield Park “L” station at Oak Park Avenue, before the construction of the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway. The view looks to the northeast. The buildings just to the north are still there.

I found a description of this photo online: "This real photograph postcard was taken on July 4, 1910, near the Methodist Church on Franklin Avenue in Valparaiso, Indiana. This public gathering commemorated the first run of the Valparaiso & Northern Railway interurban on the new line running from Valparaiso northward to Flint Lake. The first interurban left Valparaiso at 9:00 am in charge of Conductor C. C. Metsker. Valparaiso Mayor William F. Spooner, Valparaiso City Clerk Clem Helm, and other local notables were passengers on the inaugural sixteen minute, three mile trip to Flint Lake. An engine operated by Frank Chowdrey, hooked to two flat cars with seats and decked out in flags and bunting, followed the interurban to Flint Lake. A total of 3,500 passengers were transported to Flint Lake that inaugural day for the festivities. Incorporated in August 1908, the Valparaiso & Northern Railway construction was financed by citizens of Valparaiso and outside investors; the railway was to become one of the feeder lines the the Chicago-New York Electric Air Line Railroad. A section between Chesterton and Goodrum, located just north of Woodville, was completed and put into service on February 18, 1911. The section between Flint Lake and Woodville was completed on October 7, 1911; between February and October of 1911, a bus was used to transport passengers between Goodrum and Flint Lake. Complete interurban through service between Chesterton, Valparaiso, and LaPorte was possible after a bridge was constructed over the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad on February 17, 1912. Interurban service to Valparaiso ceased on October 23, 1938, largely due to the increasing use of automobiles, an improved highway system, and the financial depression."

I found a description of this photo online: “This real photograph postcard was taken on July 4, 1910, near the Methodist Church on Franklin Avenue in Valparaiso, Indiana. This public gathering commemorated the first run of the Valparaiso & Northern Railway interurban on the new line running from Valparaiso northward to Flint Lake. The first interurban left Valparaiso at 9:00 am in charge of Conductor C. C. Metsker. Valparaiso Mayor William F. Spooner, Valparaiso City Clerk Clem Helm, and other local notables were passengers on the inaugural sixteen minute, three mile trip to Flint Lake. An engine operated by Frank Chowdrey, hooked to two flat cars with seats and decked out in flags and bunting, followed the interurban to Flint Lake. A total of 3,500 passengers were transported to Flint Lake that inaugural day for the festivities. Incorporated in August 1908, the Valparaiso & Northern Railway construction was financed by citizens of Valparaiso and outside investors; the railway was to become one of the feeder lines the the Chicago-New York Electric Air Line Railroad. A section between Chesterton and Goodrum, located just north of Woodville, was completed and put into service on February 18, 1911. The section between Flint Lake and Woodville was completed on October 7, 1911; between February and October of 1911, a bus was used to transport passengers between Goodrum and Flint Lake. Complete interurban through service between Chesterton, Valparaiso, and LaPorte was possible after a bridge was constructed over the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad on February 17, 1912. Interurban service to Valparaiso ceased on October 23, 1938, largely due to the increasing use of automobiles, an improved highway system, and the financial depression.”

This is a nice picture of the South Shore illustration that became a rallying cry in the mid-to-late 1970s, when the interurban was threatened with extinction.

This is a nice picture of the South Shore illustration that became a rallying cry in the mid-to-late 1970s, when the interurban was threatened with extinction.

I think this slide, taken in October 1953, is misidentified. It shows car 2851 at the head of a Garfield Park “L” train, but identifies the location as Laramie. There was no such wooden or steel “L” structure there. What seems more likely is, this is an eastbound train going down the ramp just west of California Avenue, approaching the temporary ground-level trackage that Garfield used from 1953-58. There is no expressway at left because it hadn’t been built yet.

CTA 6574-6573 at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park on August 14, 1964. The tracks are in the same location today, but the terminal was replaced in the 1980s and the area around it was dug out. We are looking to the northwest. Those silos at rear are long gone.

CTA 6574-6573 at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park on August 14, 1964. The tracks are in the same location today, but the terminal was replaced in the 1980s and the area around it was dug out. We are looking to the northwest. Those silos at rear are long gone.

SEPTA car 18, signed for Media, is at the 69th Street Terminal on a snowy night in February 1973.

SEPTA car 18, signed for Media, is at the 69th Street Terminal on a snowy night in February 1973.

North Shore Line 712 and train on the Mundelein branch on July 29, 1962, signed for Chicago. That must be 775 behind 712.

North Shore Line 712 and train on the Mundelein branch on July 29, 1962, signed for Chicago. That must be 775 behind 712.

This photo came without any identification, but it shows the CTA off-street loop at Halsted near 79th Street, some time after buses replaced streetcars on Route 8 in 1954. Andre Kristopans: "Bus at 79th Halsted terminal is a 42B South Halsted, arriving from 127th Street. The bus facing other direction is an 8 or a 42 northbound." Route 42 was discontinued in 1993, upon the opening of the new Orange Line rapid transit route.

This photo came without any identification, but it shows the CTA off-street loop at Halsted near 79th Street, some time after buses replaced streetcars on Route 8 in 1954. Andre Kristopans: “Bus at 79th Halsted terminal is a 42B South Halsted, arriving from 127th Street. The bus facing other direction is an 8 or a 42 northbound.” Route 42 was discontinued in 1993, upon the opening of the new Orange Line rapid transit route.

North Shore Line car 732 is northbound at Dempster Street, Skokie (originally called Niles Center) at an apparently early date, considering how few buildings are present. Don's Rail Photos: "732 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1926, #2890. It was modernized in 1939."

North Shore Line car 732 is northbound at Dempster Street, Skokie (originally called Niles Center) at an apparently early date, considering how few buildings are present. Don’s Rail Photos: “732 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1926, #2890. It was modernized in 1939.”

Toonerville Trolley Celebration in Pelham, NY

There was an actual railfan comic strip in the daily papers during the first half of the 20th Century– Fontaine Fox’s Toonerville Trolley.

It was inspired by an actual trolley in Pelham, NY. Author Blake A. Bell was until recently the Pelham town historian, and has written extensively about the cartoon’s connections to that area in suburban New York City.

The Toonerville Trolley met all the trains, and its inspiration ran to the New Haven Railroad station. It is said that the cartoon “Skipper” was inspired by longtime Pelham trolley operator James Bailey.

On July 31, 1937, Fox staged an event, attended by hundreds of people, to commemorate the end of trolley service in Pelham. The local streetcars did not resemble the cartoon one enough, so a small Birney car was brought over from another property to serve as the “Toonerville Trolley” for this occasion.

We recently acquired several photos from this event. The nattily dressed man in one picture is Fontaine Fox himself.

Cartoonist Fontaine Fox (1884-1964) in 1911.

Cartoonist Fontaine Fox (1884-1964) in 1911.

From the Collections of William Shapotkin

CTA 5532 is southbound on Paulina, running on Route 9 - Ashland. In the background, we see the Marshfield "L" station on the Metropolitan main line. This was where all the Met lines diverged, going to Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Garfield Park, and Douglas Park. There was also a platform for the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban, seen at rear. As you can see at right, some clearing has already been done for the Congress Expressway. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 5532 is southbound on Paulina, running on Route 9 – Ashland. In the background, we see the Marshfield “L” station on the Metropolitan main line. This was where all the Met lines diverged, going to Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Garfield Park, and Douglas Park. There was also a platform for the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban, seen at rear. As you can see at right, some clearing has already been done for the Congress Expressway. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA work car W-205 at 77th and Vincennes in January 1951. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA work car W-205 at 77th and Vincennes in January 1951. (William Shapotkin Collection)

While the caption on this photo erroneously says it is Gary, Indiana, it is actually East Chicago instead. The date given is October 1953. The location is much the same as in some of the other South Shore black-and-white photos in this post (Chicago Street near Magoun Avenue). Note the same stores across the street. (William Shapotkin Collection)

While the caption on this photo erroneously says it is Gary, Indiana, it is actually East Chicago instead. The date given is October 1953. The location is much the same as in some of the other South Shore black-and-white photos in this post (Chicago Street near Magoun Avenue). Note the same stores across the street. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 9588 is southbound on Pulaski at Grand Avenue on March 12, 1973, not long before the end of electric bus service. Jimmy's Red Hots is at left. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 9588 is southbound on Pulaski at Grand Avenue on March 12, 1973, not long before the end of electric bus service. Jimmy’s Red Hots is at left. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Brand new CTA 2414 is at Rockville (MD?) on March 19, 1977. It's part of the 2400-series, built by Boeing-Vertol. (R. Anastasio Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Brand new CTA 2414 is at Rockville (MD?) on March 19, 1977. It’s part of the 2400-series, built by Boeing-Vertol. (R. Anastasio Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6027 is at Kedzie and 33rd in April 1949. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6027 is at Kedzie and 33rd in April 1949. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Chicago Surface Lines 2821 and 2818 at 111th and Halsted in 1944. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Chicago Surface Lines 2821 and 2818 at 111th and Halsted in 1944. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA one-man streetcar 3220 is at 67th and South Shore Drive in June 1952, running on Route 67. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA one-man streetcar 3220 is at 67th and South Shore Drive in June 1952, running on Route 67. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 3238 at 67th and Lake Shore Drive (also known as South Shore Drive here) in May 1950. Note the same ice cream stand as in shapotkin116. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 3238 at 67th and Lake Shore Drive (also known as South Shore Drive here) in May 1950. Note the same ice cream stand as in shapotkin116. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6207 is at an unknown location, while a postwar PCC turns in the background. The red car is signed for Route 93. Jon Habermaas says the "location is 95th Street west of State Street showing the west end of the 93/95 route. PCC in background is a Broadway-State car turning north on to State after a short jog on 95th from Michigan Ave route segment from 119th Street." (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6207 is at an unknown location, while a postwar PCC turns in the background. The red car is signed for Route 93. Jon Habermaas says the “location is 95th Street west of State Street showing the west end of the 93/95 route. PCC in background is a Broadway-State car turning north on to State after a short jog on 95th from Michigan Ave route segment from 119th Street.” (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6182 at Lawrence and Clark in March 1950. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6182 at Lawrence and Clark in March 1950. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 653, signed to head south on Route 8 - Halsted. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 653, signed to head south on Route 8 – Halsted. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6031, with no route sign visible. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6031, with no route sign visible. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 551. Michael Franklin writes, "This is looking south on State Street from Roosevelt Road. (The) building with round arches is still standing." (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 551. Michael Franklin writes, “This is looking south on State Street from Roosevelt Road. (The) building with round arches is still standing.” (William Shapotkin Collection)

The info on the slide mount says this is CTA 6153 at 47th and Indiana in June 1949. However, the car is signed for Route 28. Kevin Doerksen says this is "actually 47th and Cottage Grove, NE corner. The old bank building is still there." (William Shapotkin Collection)

The info on the slide mount says this is CTA 6153 at 47th and Indiana in June 1949. However, the car is signed for Route 28. Kevin Doerksen says this is “actually 47th and Cottage Grove, NE corner. The old bank building is still there.” (William Shapotkin Collection)

It's not clear to me just where this picture was taken, but at least I can say that it is Ashland Car Works slide #820. (William Shapotkin Collection)

It’s not clear to me just where this picture was taken, but at least I can say that it is Ashland Car Works slide #820. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This is slide #814 from Ashland Car Works, and shows wooden "L" cars running along Van Buren street downtown. The photographer was most likely standing on the platform at Franklin and Van Buren. The view looks east, and that's Tower 12 at right. The tracks and structure west of Van Buren and Wells were replaced in 1955 by a new connection, running through the former Well Street Terminal, just north of here. The tower, "L" structure, and the Franklin Street station were all removed shortly thereafter. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This is slide #814 from Ashland Car Works, and shows wooden “L” cars running along Van Buren street downtown. The photographer was most likely standing on the platform at Franklin and Van Buren. The view looks east, and that’s Tower 12 at right. The tracks and structure west of Van Buren and Wells were replaced in 1955 by a new connection, running through the former Well Street Terminal, just north of here. The tower, “L” structure, and the Franklin Street station were all removed shortly thereafter. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This is an image we have most likely run before, but it never hurts to see it again. It shows one of the original 5000-series "L" trains, which were numbered 5001-5004, heading west along the Metropolitan main line just west of the Chicago River. The train is passing over the south train platforms at Union Station. This is slide #812 from Ashland Car Works (put out by the late Jack Bailey) if that helps. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This is an image we have most likely run before, but it never hurts to see it again. It shows one of the original 5000-series “L” trains, which were numbered 5001-5004, heading west along the Metropolitan main line just west of the Chicago River. The train is passing over the south train platforms at Union Station. This is slide #812 from Ashland Car Works (put out by the late Jack Bailey) if that helps. (William Shapotkin Collection)

1973 Trolley Bus Fantrip

These images, also from Bill Shapotkin‘s collection, are from a CTA trolley bus fantrip at night, that took place on March 31, 1973.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago in November 2018, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.

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

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

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)
To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways. While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

Bibliographic information:
Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960
Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

This is our 266th 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 763,000 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.

Never Too Late

Former Chicago Surface Lines mail car 6, built in 1891, as it looked on May 25, 1958. This car is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum, where it was recently vandalized. You can see a black-and-white photo of this car, taken at the same time as this one, in our previous post Throwback Thursday (January 7, 2016). To see a picture of West Chicago Street Railway car 4, also taken the same day, there's one in our post Chicago Streetcars In Color (February 22, 2015).

Former Chicago Surface Lines mail car 6, built in 1891, as it looked on May 25, 1958. This car is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum, where it was recently vandalized. You can see a black-and-white photo of this car, taken at the same time as this one, in our previous post Throwback Thursday (January 7, 2016). To see a picture of West Chicago Street Railway car 4, also taken the same day, there’s one in our post Chicago Streetcars In Color (February 22, 2015).

Recent news reports that eight historic railcars at the Fox River Trolley Museum were vandalized to the tune of perhaps as much as $150,000 brought back some memories.

Back in 1961, when I was six years old, my family took a Sunday drive out to the Chicago Aurora & Elgin’s Wheaton Yards to take one last look at their fleet. We had read in the news that efforts to save the CA&E had failed, and that the entire line was being abandoned forever.

I never did get to ride the CA&E, which stopped running passenger service in 1957. But I did at least get to see the railcars on their home turf in Wheaton. I distinctly recall being gratified that they did not appear to be vandalized. I did not see any broken windows.

Not all of these cars were saved, but some did make it off the property and several lived to run again in museum service in various parts of the country. (We ran some pictures of the “hospital train” in our post Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 1-29-2016.)

That anything at all got saved was, in my humble opinion, a miracle. Now it is true that in the waning days of traction, there were fans who “liberated” various bits and pieces of trolleys that were destined for the scrap heap. Their goal was to preserve history, not desecrate it. In some cases, these original parts have since been put back onto historic equipment, or are now in the collections of railroad museums. At least they were saved for future generations.

Railroad museums across the country depend on small groups of dedicated volunteers. Occasionally, entire museum operations have either failed or have been obliged to relocate. The sad situation faced by the Indiana Transportation Museum, which was recently evicted from its home in Noblesville, is but the latest example.

Let’s take a closer look at Aurora, Elgin & Fox River car 304. This fine specimen of a 1920s interurban car, which returned to run on the small surviving portion of its home rails at the Fox River Trolley Museum, was damaged by the two young vandals. It is not just a piece of equipment that was injured. This was a senseless attack on the history of an entire region.

While this blog is not affiliated with the Fox River Trolley Museum, we wholeheartedly support their efforts, and historic preservation. Insurance, unfortunately, will only cover a small portion of the cost of replacing all the broken glass and other damage. The bulk of funds will have to come from private donations.

The museum has begun a fundraising campaign, which must be successful. I realize many of us are angry about this senseless destruction, but let’s turn our anger into something constructive.

We are but the current caretakers of precious artifacts of the past. If we fail to preserve them, it will be a loss to all who come after us. We can all lament that a couple of young kids did a tremendous amount of harm here, but it’s never too late for the rest of us to do the right thing, right now.

-David Sadowski

The Toonerville Trolley That Meets All the Trains

We recently acquired the original artwork for this January 17, 1938 Toonerville Trolley comic panel by the great Fontaine Fox (1884-1964).

We recently acquired the original artwork for this January 17, 1938 Toonerville Trolley comic panel by the great Fontaine Fox (1884-1964).

In a time when trolley lines criss-crossed this country, and were a part of everyday life for Americans, there was even a railfan comic strip. Or, better put, a comic strip by a railfan, Fontaine Fox.

His “Toonerville Trolley” comic ran in newspapers from 1913 until he retired in 1955. Over time, he even grew to resemble the “Skipper,” his own creation. Fox even answered his voluminous fan mail using letterhead he had printed up for the Toonerville Electric Railway Company.

Here is what the Filson (Kentucky) Historical Society has to say about Fontaine Fox:

Fontaine Talbot Fox III, creator of the famous Toonerville Trolley, was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1884. He started his career as a reporter for the Louisville Herald, but soon abandoned this course to pursue his true passion of drawing cartoons. During a visit to the small town of Pelham, New York, Fox received inspiration for what would become one of the nation’s most beloved comics. While in Pelham, he rode on the local trolley car, where the conductor’s unhurried manner and penchant for gossiping with his passengers gave Fox the idea for his own comic strip. By 1915, the resulting comic series, Toonerville Folks, had come to the attention of the Wheeler Syndicate and was soon published in newspapers across the nation.

The Filson’s collections contain a number of items documenting the life and career of this celebrated cartoonist, including photographs of Fox and his family, as well as some of his correspondence and several scrapbooks with clippings of his cartoons. Notable among Fox’s papers are a collection of twenty-one original pen and ink cartoons from his beloved Toonerville Folks. Set in the fictional town of Toonerville, the single-paneled cartoon featured a rickety trolley car and a glimpse into suburban life in the early twentieth century. Fox created a cast of characters that charmed a nation: the Terrible-Tempered Mr. Bang, the Powerful Katrinka, Mickey (Himself) McGuire (the town bully), Aunt Eppie Hogg (the fattest woman in three counties), and of course the Skipper, who piloted the beloved trolley car. Toonerville Folks ran in hundreds of newspapers nationwide for over forty years, until Fox’s retirement in 1955. His comics would become an inspiration for a future generation of cartoonists.

Actually, it was a single panel cartoon six days a week. On Sunday, it was in color, in multiple panels. The strip had various names, including The Toonerville Trolley That Meets All the Trains and Toonerville Folks. Eventually, the adventures of the “Skipper” and his rickety trolley car only took up a part of the action, as Fox developed a variety of memorable characters for Toonerville.

Blake A. Bell
writes an excellent blog called Historic Pelham, and has written extensively about Fox, the Toonerville Trolley, and its connection to the area.

While the phrase “Toonerville Trolley” eventually became synonymous with any rural streetcar or interurban running on poorly maintained track, Pelham, NY, its inspiration, is actually a suburb, located 14 miles from Midtown Manhattan in Westchester County. It is near the city of New Rochelle, made famous as the home of Rob and Laura Petrie on the Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966).

The Toonerville Trolley ran in over 200 daily newspapers in its heyday, and was popular enough to inspire numerous motion pictures. The first series, circa 1920-21, was silent and produced by the Betzwood Studios in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (more on that in our book review section). You can watch one of those films here.

Next, a young Mickey Rooney (1920-2014) later starred in 78 short films based on the Toonerville character Mickey McGuire, made between 1927 and 1934. This was Mickey Rooney’s first big break in show business. He even attempted, unsuccessfully, to legally change his name to Mickey McGuire.

There were also some Toonerville Trolley animated shorts, made in 1936 by Van Beuren Studios, which can be seen on Youtube. Here is one example:

By the late 1930s, trolley lines were starting to disappear from the American scene. On July 31, 1937 the Pelham Manor “H” trolley line ran its last. Fontaine Fox used the popularity of his comic strip to turn this into a major event.

From Historical Treasures of Westchester County:

On July 31, 1937, the H-Line Trolley that inspired Fontaine Fox was shut down for good – replaced by a bus line. That day the Village of Pelham Manor hosted a celebration attended by about 8,000 people for the last run of the “Toonerville Trolley”.

This “pass,” signed by Fontaine Fox who attended the event, entitled the bearer to ride the trolley car during its last trip. That trip took hours to travel only a couple of miles due to the crowds and the antics of local residents dressed as various characters from the “Toonerville Folks” comic strip.

The Hagerstown & Frederick interurban, which we have featured in a variety of posts, is an example of a country interurban that was frequently called a “Toonerville Trolley.” Its last passenger interurban ran on February 20, 1954.

Perhaps inspired by this, around this time Fontaine Fox bowed to the inevitable, and “retired” the trolley from his strip, replacing it with a bus. But such was the popularity of the old contraption that I believe he brought it back, prior to the strip’s demise in 1955 with Fox’s retirement. He donated some of his original artwork to a trolley museum.

As a tribute to Fontaine Fox, here we present an entire month’s worth of daily Toonerville panels, from June 1927. You will note that only some of the dailies include the trolley and Skipper (who, apparently, was based on real-life Pelham operator James (“Old Jim”) Bailey, who lived in the Bronx). Charles A. Lindbergh (1902-1974) made his historic non-stop flight from New YHork to Paris on May 20-21, 1927 and “Lindbergh mania” is reflected in many of the strips shown here, suggesting that Fox was working on some of these panels not long before they appeared in newspapers.

Fontaine Fox in retirement:

https://filsonhistorical.org/wp-content/uploads/Sketch-of-Fontaine-Fox_A_F791_1_web.jpg

Book Reviews



Montgomery County Trolleys
by Mike Szilagyi, with a Foreword by Andrew W. Maginnis
Arcadia Publishing, 2018

We recently received a copy of Montogomery County Trolleys from the author, as we had provided a couple of images he used in the book. Otherwise, chances are we might not have seen this fine addition to Arcadia’s Images of Rail series, which we are also involved with (see below for information on Building Chicago’s Subways, and our Online Store for copies of Chicago Trolleys).

Author Mike Szilagyi was no stranger to us, as we had corresponded concerning a different book project he was involved with as mapmaker. This was eventually published as Riding the Bell: Lehigh Valley Transit’s Liberty Bell Route by Ron Ruddell, Bulletin 147 of the Central Electric Railfans’ Association (2015).

Naturally, the maps Mr. Szilagyi made for this new book are excellent. But the entire thing is well done, from the scope the author set out to cover, the organization of the chapters, picture selection, text, and captions.

Here is a capsule description:

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, was once served by 140 miles of trolley lines. In the first half of the 20th century, a wide array of trolley cars rolled over Montgomery County’s rails, from quaint open streetcars rumbling through borough streets to sleek 80-mile-an-hour trolleys sailing across open fields in Upper Gwynedd and Hatfield Townships. The cars had zero emissions, and some lines were powered by renewable hydroelectric power. Taking the trolley was a convenient, affordable option for those travelling and commuting in Montgomery County, nearby Philadelphia, and points beyond. Freight was also carried on board trolleys, with prompt parcel delivery service. Fortunately, many years ago, dedicated trolley fans had the foresight to aim their cameras at these unique vehicles, providing rare glimpses not just of the trolleys but also of Montgomery County’s rapidly changing landscapes.

Mike Szilagyi’s interest in trolleys was sparked at a young age by the sight of big green streamliners gliding down Old York Road near his grandmother’s house in the Logan neighborhood of Philadelphia. Today, Szilagyi lives and works in Montgomery County, where he plans and designs bicycle paths and serves on the North Wales Historic Commission.

This volume’s foreword was written by noted transit historian and longtime Montgomery County resident Andrew W. Maginnis.

In addition to detailed captions for each photograph, the book offers a brief history of transportation in Montgomery County, placing the trolley era in its historical context. The timeline of travel may be very generally summed up as:

dirt roads – canals – railroads – trolleys – motor vehicles

Rather than each mode supplanting the previous, there were varying degrees of overlap between them. That said, the use of animals for motive power was there from the beginning, only fading as motor vehicles gained prominence in the 1910s and 1920s. The bicycle came on the scene in a big way in the 1890s, never really completely disappeared, and is today enjoying widespread resurgence.

By concentrating on Montgomery County, the author is able to provide tremendous variety, as he was therefore able to include the Lehigh Valley Transit’s Liberty Bell interurban, the Philadelphia & Western High-Speed Line to Norristown, numerous small-town trolleys, and even a bit of Philadelphia streetcars (Route 6 went into the county). Although very little of this remains, back in the day I did manage to ride Bullets and Strafford cars on the Norristown line (which still operates, with more modern equipment) as well as PCCs on SEPTA’s Route 6, which was replaced by buses in January 1986, subjects covered in this book.

Montgomery County Trolleys is dedicated to the memory of the late Harry Foesig (1897-2003) whose long life spanned parts of three centuries. He was co-author, along with Dr. Harold E. Cox, of Trolleys of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (1968). This was an obvious inspiration for this new volume, which can be thought of as a kind of “spiritual descendant” of that earlier tome. That book also included some excellent maps, rendered by Foesig.

Anyone who has an interest in the subject, and the rich heritage of Keystone-state traction, would do well to pick up copies of each. While the earlier book is long out of print, you should have little difficulty in finding a used copy at a reasonable price. Mine only cost about $10, which is perhaps about half what you should expect to pay for Montgomery County Trolleys.

Interestingly, longtime railfan Andrew W. Maginnis contributed to both books, 50 years apart. Perhaps the 50-year anniversary was also a factor that motivated the author to put this new collection together, just as I was inspired by some anniversaries to do my new book (see below).

-David Sadowski

Pre-Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

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

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

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

Bibliographic information:

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

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

Building Chicago’s Subways will be published on October 1, 2018. Order your copy today, and it will be shipped on or about that date. All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 215th 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 422,000 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.