From the Collections of Bill Shapotkin

On August 13, 1971 Chicago Rock Island & Pacific #303 and 125 are backing into Blue Island (Burr Oak) yard. Bill Shapotkin adds, "The train is a ROCK Mainline Suburban train (if it had operated via Beverly, it would be west of the depot (to left)."

On August 13, 1971 Chicago Rock Island & Pacific #303 and 125 are backing into Blue Island (Burr Oak) yard. Bill Shapotkin adds, “The train is a ROCK Mainline Suburban train (if it had operated via Beverly, it would be west of the depot (to left).”

Today, we feature more classic photos of buses, trolleys, and trains, courtesy of Bill Shapotkin, long a friend of this blog. Mr. Shapotkin should be well-known to many of you from his longtime activities as a transit historian, author, and the many informative programs he has given over the years.

Today’s sampling from the Shapotkin Collection includes some rare pictures of Chicago & North Western RDCs (Budd Rail Diesel Cars), which were self-propelled and ran in Chicago area commuter train service for a short period of time in the 1950s. They replaced steam-powered trains and were in turn replaced by the familiar push-pull diesel bi-levels still in use today.

In addition, there are several pictures of Grand Central Station, a Chicago landmark in use between 1890 and 1969, which was torn down in 1971. We have some interesting correspondence, plus some new images of our own.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- We have done our part to make these old images look as good as they possibly can. The C&NW RDC pictures were all shot around 1956 on early Ektachrome film, whose dyes turned out to be unstable and quickly shifted to red. (Technically, the red layer was relatively stable, while the green and blue layers faded.)

It used to be some people thought these sorts of images were only suitable for use as black-and-whites. But with modern technology, it is possible, to some extent, to bring back the original colors. This was easier to do on some than others, but the results look much better than you might expect. If you have ever seen one of these early red Ektachromes, you will know what I mean. Modern films are much more stable and resistant to dye fading.

I would be remiss without mentioning Bill has been involved for many years with the annual Hoosier Traction meet, which takes place in September:

It is that time of year again — the 35th annual gathering of the Hoosier Traction Meet is being held Fri-Sat, Sept 7-8 in Indianapolis, IN. The meet includes two full days of interesting presentations on a variety of subjects, as well as our “Exhibition Room” of vendors — with everything from transfers to track charts available. Book now and you can join us for just $25.00 ($40.00 at the door). We recommend that once you book hotel accommodations as early as possible, as there is an event scheduled at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that same weekend. By calling the number of the Waterfront Inn (where our event is being held), by mentioning that you are with the Hoosier Traction Meet, you should be able to register at our group rate.

For those of you would are unable to attend both days, we have a special “Saturday Only” rate of just $15.00 ($25.00 at the door). As many of our Friday presentations are repeated on Saturday, you will be able to partake of a wide variety of subjects and presenters.

We hope you are able to join us for what many consider to be THE electric railway gathering in the country…see you there!

Thanking you in advance,

Bill Shapotkin

The Milwaukee Road's Elgin terminal in August 1970. Bill Shapotkin adds, "The MILW depot in Elgin was built 1948. It is the second depot constructed at the same site. View looks south from Chicago St."

The Milwaukee Road’s Elgin terminal in August 1970. Bill Shapotkin adds, “The MILW depot in Elgin was built 1948. It is the second depot constructed at the same site. View looks south from Chicago St.”

Chicago & Milwaukee Electric 354, built in 1928 by the St. Louis Car Company, is seen at the Illinois Railway Museum in May 1977. It ran in Milwaukee and Waukegan as a North Shore Line city streetcar.

Chicago & Milwaukee Electric 354, built in 1928 by the St. Louis Car Company, is seen at the Illinois Railway Museum in May 1977. It ran in Milwaukee and Waukegan as a North Shore Line city streetcar.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Peru, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Peru, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

Minneapolis & St. Louis "doodlebug" GE 29, was used as a railway post office (RPO). According to http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/, " Number GE-29 was built in 1931, body by Saint Louis Car Company (c/n 1550), the power plant was 400 horsepower EMC Winton Model 148 gasoline engine (c/n 491) coupled to GE electrical gear. I don't know who is responsible for the boxy structure on the roof but it's likely the cooling system for the prime mover. This unit went by the name 'Montgomery' (painted above the rear truck) and was repowered in August 1950 with a Caterpillar 400 horsepower Model D diesel."

Minneapolis & St. Louis “doodlebug” GE 29, was used as a railway post office (RPO). According to http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/, ” Number GE-29 was built in 1931, body by Saint Louis Car Company (c/n 1550), the power plant was 400 horsepower EMC Winton Model 148 gasoline engine (c/n 491) coupled to GE electrical gear. I don’t know who is responsible for the boxy structure on the roof but it’s likely the cooling system for the prime mover. This unit went by the name ‘Montgomery’ (painted above the rear truck) and was repowered in August 1950 with a Caterpillar 400 horsepower Model D diesel.”

CTA bus 4606 is at the Roosevelt/Monitor Loop in October 1992 (same one used by trackless trolleys a few years earlier). The view looks E-N/E (toward Monitor Avenue). I don't know much about the GM Fishbowl next to it, however.

CTA bus 4606 is at the Roosevelt/Monitor Loop in October 1992 (same one used by trackless trolleys a few years earlier). The view looks E-N/E (toward Monitor Avenue). I don’t know much about the GM Fishbowl next to it, however.

A Milwaukee Road dome car near Union Station in Chicago.

A Milwaukee Road dome car near Union Station in Chicago.

Milwaukee Road equipment in downtown Chicago.

Milwaukee Road equipment in downtown Chicago.

Pace buses in Elgin, June 2003.

Pace buses in Elgin, June 2003.

A westbound NYC passenger train as it approaches LaSalle Street Station in November 1963. At right is the CRI&P's coach yard. The view looks south from the Roosevelt Road bridge. (John Szwajkart Photo)

A westbound NYC passenger train as it approaches LaSalle Street Station in November 1963. At right is the CRI&P’s coach yard. The view looks south from the Roosevelt Road bridge. (John Szwajkart Photo)

Chicago, IL. NYC loco #7300 is seen as it passes the CRI&P coachyard. The view looks south from the Roosevelt Road bridge in November 1963. (John Szwajkart Photo)

Chicago, IL. NYC loco #7300 is seen as it passes the CRI&P coachyard. The view looks south from the Roosevelt Road bridge in November 1963. (John Szwajkart Photo)

Metra Milwaukee District loco 124 is pushing an eastbound train towards Union Station in Chicago. The view looks east from DesPlaines Street. August 1995. (Dan Munson Photo)

Metra Milwaukee District loco 124 is pushing an eastbound train towards Union Station in Chicago. The view looks east from DesPlaines Street. August 1995. (Dan Munson Photo)

Loco 604 leads a northbound (timetable: westbound) Metra/Milwaukee District passenger train out of Union Station in Chicago. The view looks south-southwest off the Lake Street bridge over the south branch of the Chicago River. July 19, 1990. (Dan Munson Photo)

Loco 604 leads a northbound (timetable: westbound) Metra/Milwaukee District passenger train out of Union Station in Chicago. The view looks south-southwest off the Lake Street bridge over the south branch of the Chicago River. July 19, 1990. (Dan Munson Photo)

Control cab 3244 brings up the reat of a westbound Metra/Rock Island train at Joliet Union Station. The view looks west in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

Control cab 3244 brings up the reat of a westbound Metra/Rock Island train at Joliet Union Station. The view looks west in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

Joliet, IL: Loco 163 is seen pushing an eastbound Metra/Rock Island suburban train across the ATSF/IC (ex-ICG, former GM&O, nee C&A) diamonds at Union Station. The view looks south in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

Joliet, IL: Loco 163 is seen pushing an eastbound Metra/Rock Island suburban train across the ATSF/IC (ex-ICG, former GM&O, nee C&A) diamonds at Union Station. The view looks south in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

The imposing clock tower of Grand Central Station, in operation from 1890 to 1969. Located at the southwest corner of Wells and Harrison, it was demolished in 1971. This view looks northwest. (Ron Peisker Photo)

The imposing clock tower of Grand Central Station, in operation from 1890 to 1969. Located at the southwest corner of Wells and Harrison, it was demolished in 1971. This view looks northwest. (Ron Peisker Photo)

The Wells Street side of Grand Central Station in Chicago. The view looks north along Wells Street in the 1960s. (Ron Peisker Photo)

The Wells Street side of Grand Central Station in Chicago. The view looks north along Wells Street in the 1960s. (Ron Peisker Photo)

In the 1960s, and auto is parked on Wells Street in front of Grand Central Station. The view looks to the west-northwest across Wells Street. (Ron Peisker Photo)

In the 1960s, and auto is parked on Wells Street in front of Grand Central Station. The view looks to the west-northwest across Wells Street. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Looking west from the clock tower at Grand Central Station in the 1960s. Through these windows are various railroad offices. The building at left in the background is the CGW freight house. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Looking west from the clock tower at Grand Central Station in the 1960s. Through these windows are various railroad offices. The building at left in the background is the CGW freight house. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Grand Central Station, Chicago is viewed from the west side of Franklin Street from a point north of Harrison Street. The view looks southwest. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Grand Central Station, Chicago is viewed from the west side of Franklin Street from a point north of Harrison Street. The view looks southwest. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Looking north on Holden Court in March 2000, under the South Side "L", we are looking north under the St. Charles Air Line bridge. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Looking north on Holden Court in March 2000, under the South Side “L”, we are looking north under the St. Charles Air Line bridge. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A westbound B&O freight train prepares to cross the IHB at the Illinois/Indiana state line. The view looks east in September 1959. (John Szwajkart Photo)

A westbound B&O freight train prepares to cross the IHB at the Illinois/Indiana state line. The view looks east in September 1959. (John Szwajkart Photo)

This is 91st St Tower in November 1949 -- protecting the PRR/ROCK Xing on the ROCK's Suburban (now Beverly) Branch. The tracks heading off to the upper right are the ROCK. Tracks heading off to the upper left are the PRR.

This is 91st St Tower in November 1949 — protecting the PRR/ROCK Xing on the ROCK’s Suburban (now Beverly) Branch. The tracks heading off to the upper right are the ROCK. Tracks heading off to the upper left are the PRR.

This billboard, advertising SouthShore Freight, is located west of Indianapolis Boulevard north of the Indiana Toll Road in East Chicago, IN. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

This billboard, advertising SouthShore Freight, is located west of Indianapolis Boulevard north of the Indiana Toll Road in East Chicago, IN. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

C&NW cab-coach 152 in Chicago, north of the Clinton Street Tower on August 2, 1978.

C&NW cab-coach 152 in Chicago, north of the Clinton Street Tower on August 2, 1978.

An eastbound C&NW train is passing under the CGW bridge on July 9, 1968. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This photo was taken in Lombard east of Grace St. Today, a Great Western Trail x/o over the UP (C&NW) at the same location. View looks west."

An eastbound C&NW train is passing under the CGW bridge on July 9, 1968. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This photo was taken in Lombard east of Grace St. Today, a Great Western Trail x/o over the UP (C&NW) at the same location. View looks west.”

C&NW cab car 254 at Davis Street in Evanston on July 18, 1976.

C&NW cab car 254 at Davis Street in Evanston on July 18, 1976.

C&NW GP7 is at an unknown location, on a morning train running between Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin in March 1954. Bill Shapotkin: "This location is West Allis, WI just west of Belden Tower (the freight line to Butler is in background). View looks N/E."

C&NW GP7 is at an unknown location, on a morning train running between Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin in March 1954. Bill Shapotkin: “This location is West Allis, WI just west of Belden Tower (the freight line to Butler is in background). View looks N/E.”

C&NW KO Tower in Lake Bluff, IL on May 5, 1977.

C&NW KO Tower in Lake Bluff, IL on May 5, 1977.

C&NW 1653 at Kenmore station, Chicago.

C&NW 1653 at Kenmore station, Chicago.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

C&NW RDC cars in Park Ridge, IL.

C&NW RDC cars in Park Ridge, IL.

C&NW RDC cars southbound departing Kenmore station (Granville Avenue) in Chicago.

C&NW RDC cars southbound departing Kenmore station (Granville Avenue) in Chicago.

C&NW 1531 in Kenmore station, Chicago in May 1956.

C&NW 1531 in Kenmore station, Chicago in May 1956.

C&NW RDC cars, southbound at Kenmore station, Chicago, 1956.

C&NW RDC cars, southbound at Kenmore station, Chicago, 1956.

C&NW RDC cars in Waukegan, IL.

C&NW RDC cars in Waukegan, IL.

C&NW RDC car 9933 just north of Thome Avenue in August 1956.

C&NW RDC car 9933 just north of Thome Avenue in August 1956.

Chicago Surface Lines 6213. Tony Waller adds, "The photo of the red streetcar on route 95 captioned as being at 93rd and Anthony Ave. is actually at 93rd and Exchange Ave. The streetcar line westbound turned from Exchange onto 93rd. Anthony Ave. parallels the PRR/NYC viaducts (and now the Skyway bridge alignment) that is in the near distance; crossing the streetcar line at a perpendicular angle."

Chicago Surface Lines 6213. Tony Waller adds, “The photo of the red streetcar on route 95 captioned as being at 93rd and Anthony Ave. is actually at 93rd and Exchange Ave. The streetcar line westbound turned from Exchange onto 93rd. Anthony Ave. parallels the PRR/NYC viaducts (and now the Skyway bridge alignment) that is in the near distance; crossing the streetcar line at a perpendicular angle.”

CTA 6213 at 95th and State in 1949.

CTA 6213 at 95th and State in 1949.

CSL 6212 on Route 93 near Blackstone, west of Stony Island on August 13, 1947.

CSL 6212 on Route 93 near Blackstone, west of Stony Island on August 13, 1947.

Here, we are looking north (from 31st Street) under the South Side "L" mainline. Note supports at left - that portion of the structure dates back to 1892. The pillars and structure at right was added when a third main (express) track was added. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Here, we are looking north (from 31st Street) under the South Side “L” mainline. Note supports at left – that portion of the structure dates back to 1892. The pillars and structure at right was added when a third main (express) track was added. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound Englewood train approaches 31st Street on the South Side "L" main line. The view looks north from 31st Street. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound Englewood train approaches 31st Street on the South Side “L” main line. The view looks north from 31st Street. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Englewood train has just crossed over 31st Street on the South Side "L" main line. The view looks south across 31st. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Englewood train has just crossed over 31st Street on the South Side “L” main line. The view looks south across 31st. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Englewood train has just crossed over 31st Street on the South Side "L" main line. The view looks south across 31st. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Englewood train has just crossed over 31st Street on the South Side “L” main line. The view looks south across 31st. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Jackson Park train makes its stop at the 35th Street "L" station. The view looks north. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Jackson Park train makes its stop at the 35th Street “L” station. The view looks north. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A westbound Metra train in Blue Island on June 26, 1992. (R. Bullermann Photo)

A westbound Metra train in Blue Island on June 26, 1992. (R. Bullermann Photo)

Metra loco #104 is seen heading a westbound Metra/Milwaukee District suburban train out from Union Station in August 1995. The view looks east from DesPlaines Street. (Dan Munson Photo)

Metra loco #104 is seen heading a westbound Metra/Milwaukee District suburban train out from Union Station in August 1995. The view looks east from DesPlaines Street. (Dan Munson Photo)

A 7900-series CTA bus, working a westbound trip on Route 31 - 31st, is westbound in 31st Street approaching the South Side "L" main line. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A 7900-series CTA bus, working a westbound trip on Route 31 – 31st, is westbound in 31st Street approaching the South Side “L” main line. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A 7900-series CTA bus, working a westbound trip on Route 31 - 31st, is westbound in 31st Street approaching the South Side "L" main line. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A 7900-series CTA bus, working a westbound trip on Route 31 – 31st, is westbound in 31st Street approaching the South Side “L” main line. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, approaching the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, approaching the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, makes a stop before crossing over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, makes a stop before crossing over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, crossing over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, crossing over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, having just crossed over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, having just crossed over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1094, working a westbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is westbound in 103rd Street at Hale Avenue and the Metra Rock Island tracks. View looks northeast. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1094, working a westbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is westbound in 103rd Street at Hale Avenue and the Metra Rock Island tracks. View looks northeast. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1094, working a westbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is westbound in 103rd Street, having just crossed over Hale Avenue and Metra Rock Island tracks. The view looks northwest. June 8, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1094, working a westbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is westbound in 103rd Street, having just crossed over Hale Avenue and Metra Rock Island tracks. The view looks northwest. June 8, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

My Metra title slide... nice, eh? December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

My Metra title slide… nice, eh? December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

A close-up of Metra 126 and its brethren in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

A close-up of Metra 126 and its brethren in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

Recent Site Additions

This picture was added to our recent post The Magic of Jack Bejna (August 4, 2018):

Don's Rail Photos says, (North Shore Line) "213 was built by Cincinnati in March 1920, #2445, as a merchandise despatch car. In 1940 it was rebuilt as a disc harrow ice cutter. It was retired in 1955 and sold to CHF as their 242. It was donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1964." Here, we see the car at the Chicago Hardware Foundry Company in February 1960. This was also then the location of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum.

Don’s Rail Photos says, (North Shore Line) “213 was built by Cincinnati in March 1920, #2445, as a merchandise despatch car. In 1940 it was rebuilt as a disc harrow ice cutter. It was retired in 1955 and sold to CHF as their 242. It was donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1964.” Here, we see the car at the Chicago Hardware Foundry Company in February 1960. This was also then the location of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum.

Chicago Streetcar Tracks Exposed

Exposed streetcar tracks are a rare sight in Chicago nowadays. We recently took some pictures of some on Western Avenue under a viaduct just north of 18th Street, in the northbound lane.

-David Sadowski

While we were in the neighborhood, we took this picture of an inbound CTA Orange Line train on Archer:

Recent Finds

CTA 2029-2030 on the turnaround loop at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in October 1964. We are looking west. Here, you can see the close proximity of the Chicago Great Western tracks to the right. These have since been removed, and the area turned into a bike path connecting with the Illinois Prairie Path at First Avenue in Maywood.

CTA 2029-2030 on the turnaround loop at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in October 1964. We are looking west. Here, you can see the close proximity of the Chicago Great Western tracks to the right. These have since been removed, and the area turned into a bike path connecting with the Illinois Prairie Path at First Avenue in Maywood.

On July 12, 1955 we see Pittsburgh Railways car 4398 at the Drake Loop. It is signed for the Washington interurban, which continued for several miles from here until interurban service was cut back a few years before this picture was taken. Don's Rail Photos adds, "4398 was built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1916." This car was retired in 1956 and has been at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in (fittingly) Washington, PA ever since. Service to the Drake Loop ended in 1999, when the last PCC streetcars were retired. In its last few years, it had operated as a shuttle. You can read more about the final days of the Drake Loop here. (C. Foreman Photo)

On July 12, 1955 we see Pittsburgh Railways car 4398 at the Drake Loop. It is signed for the Washington interurban, which continued for several miles from here until interurban service was cut back a few years before this picture was taken. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “4398 was built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1916.” This car was retired in 1956 and has been at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in (fittingly) Washington, PA ever since. Service to the Drake Loop ended in 1999, when the last PCC streetcars were retired. In its last few years, it had operated as a shuttle. You can read more about the final days of the Drake Loop here. (C. Foreman Photo)

We recently acquired this World War II-era brochure promoting the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban’s services as a way to get around in spite of wartime gasoline rationing and tire shortages:

Here is an article about the new Chicago Subway, from the May 1943 issue of Trains magazine. (For information about our new book Building Chicago’s Subways, see the end of this post).

Recent Correspondence

Mark Batterson
writes:

We recently purchased the Navy Yard Car Barn, built in 1891 by the Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company. It was one of four streetcar barns in DC. We’d like to celebrate the history of streetcars in our buildout of the space. I know you’ve got some amazing images in your collection. Is there a way to purchase some of those? We’re also trying to purchase an old DC streetcar. Thought I’d ask if you know where we might be able to find one?

Thanks so much for your time and consideration.

Thanks for writing.

FYI, there is a web page that lists the current whereabouts (as of 2014) of all surviving DC trolley cars:

http://www.bera.org/cgi-bin/pnaerc-query.pl?sel_allown=DC+Transit&match_target=&Tech=Yes&pagelen=200

After the DC system quit in 1963, some PCC cars were shipped overseas and others were heavily modified for use in the Tandy Subway operation, which no longer exists. The bulk of remaining equipment is in museums.

Unfortunately, there were a few DC streetcars that were preserved at first, but were later destroyed. These include the Silver Sightseer PCC and pre-PCC car 1053.

We can offer prints from some of the images on this site, but not others… only the ones we own the rights to. We specialize in the Chicago area, and as a result, do not have that many DC images. But perhaps some of our readers can point you in the right direction for those. (If anyone reads this and can help, write to me and I can put you in touch with Mr. Batterson.

-David Sadowski

Chicago Rapid Transit Company Door Controls

A picture appeared in our last post The Magic of Jack Bejna that has stirred up some correspondence:

This three-car train of Chicago Transit Authority 4000-series "L" cars is signed as a Howard Street Express in June 1949. (L. L. Bonney Photo) Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, "Methinks this photo was taken looking west at the Indiana Av. (at 40th St.) station. Because the train destination sign says Howard Express, the location has to be on the main north/south line. (Plus, this train had to originate on the Jackson Park branch, because Englewood trains at that time ran to Ravenswood.) Also, I don't recall any other three-track main anywhere else on the north/south line. Also, Indiana Ave. had the overhead walkway to get to and from the Stock Yards L, which terminated to the left of the left-hand platform in the photo. When this photo was taken, the Kenwood L ran as through service from 42nd Place, through Indiana Ave., up to Wilson Ave. Later in 1949, the Kenwood service was cut back to a shuttle ending at Indiana Ave. The inbound station platform was extended over the northernmost track, then mainline north/south service used the middle track heading downtown. A fuller explanation is at https://www.chicago-l.org/operations/lines/kenwood.html . Also of interest is that this photo shows a three-car train. Before the advent of new equipment in 1950 there were no "married pairs" of cars. Trains could be as small as a single car, which I recall seeing on the Englewood branch on Sunday mornings. Plus, the three-car train shown in the photo would have had two conductors whose job was to open the passenger entry doors (which were on the sides, at the ends of the cars) using controls situated between the cars. So conductor #1 operated the doors at the rear of car 1 and the front of car 2. Conductor #2 operated the doors at the rear of car 2 and the front of car 3. Side doors at the front of car 1 and the rear of car 3 were not used by passengers. To operate his side doors, a conductor had to stand between the cars. (Yes, in any weather.) And the conductors had to notify the motorman when to proceed. To do this, the conductors had to observe when there was no more boarding or alighting at their doors. They used a bell system to notify the motorman. Two dings meant "proceed". One ding meant "hold". The rearmost conductor started with his bell, then the next rearmost, etc., until two dings rang in the motorman's compartment, his signal to go. The longer the train, the longer it took to leave the station."

This three-car train of Chicago Transit Authority 4000-series “L” cars is signed as a Howard Street Express in June 1949. (L. L. Bonney Photo) Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, “Methinks this photo was taken looking west at the Indiana Av. (at 40th St.) station.
Because the train destination sign says Howard Express, the location has to be on the main north/south line. (Plus, this train had to originate on the Jackson Park branch, because Englewood trains at that time ran to Ravenswood.) Also, I don’t recall any other three-track main anywhere else on the north/south line. Also, Indiana Ave. had the overhead walkway to get to and from the Stock Yards L, which terminated to the left of the left-hand platform in the photo.
When this photo was taken, the Kenwood L ran as through service from 42nd Place, through Indiana Ave., up to Wilson Ave. Later in 1949, the Kenwood service was cut back to a shuttle ending at Indiana Ave. The inbound station platform was extended over the northernmost track, then mainline north/south service used the middle track heading downtown. A fuller explanation is at
https://www.chicago-l.org/operations/lines/kenwood.html .
Also of interest is that this photo shows a three-car train. Before the advent of new equipment in 1950 there were no “married pairs” of cars. Trains could be as small as a single car, which I recall seeing on the Englewood branch on Sunday mornings.
Plus, the three-car train shown in the photo would have had two conductors whose job was to open the passenger entry doors (which were on the sides, at the ends of the cars) using controls situated between the cars. So conductor #1 operated the doors at the rear of car 1 and the front of car 2. Conductor #2 operated the doors at the rear of car 2 and the front of car 3. Side doors at the front of car 1 and the rear of car 3 were not used by passengers. To operate his side doors, a conductor had to stand between the cars. (Yes, in any weather.)
And the conductors had to notify the motorman when to proceed. To do this, the conductors had to observe when there was no more boarding or alighting at their doors. They used a bell system to notify the motorman. Two dings meant “proceed”. One ding meant “hold”. The rearmost conductor started with his bell, then the next rearmost, etc., until two dings rang in the motorman’s compartment, his signal to go. The longer the train, the longer it took to leave the station.”

Recently, Jim Huffman commented:

Photo #365? 3-car train of CTA 4000s standing at the 38th St station. I differ with your explanation of the conductors door work.
1. When the CTA took over they made all the doors on the 4000s one-man operated, allowing for trains with odd number of cars . Thus, 8-cars, 4-cars, 3-cars, 1-car= only 1-conductor per train.
2. Way prior to that, the CRT used a conductor between each two cars, doing the doors as you described. 8-cars=8-conductors, etc.
3. But later, prior to the CTA, the CRT re-wired (air?) the 4000s so that a conductor between every two cars could operate all the doors on two cars. 8-cars=4-conductors etc.
4. On multi conductor trains, there was only one signal used and that was by the front conductor, not by the other conductors. Nor were there differing sounds or number of bells or buzzers! The front conductor monitored the rear conductors doors, when all were closed, then he would signal the Motorman. There usually was not much of any delay, the reason for less men was to lower labor costs, not to speed up the train.
This is from my memory & further info from conductors back then.

We replied:

You are referring to the explanation of how door controls worked on the 4000s, given by one of our readers (M. E.) in the caption for the photo called proofs365.jpg.

We had previously reproduced a CTA training brochure dated March 1950 in our post Reader Showcase, 12-11-17. By this time, the 4000s had been retrofitted into semi-permanent married pairs, so a three-car train, as shown in the June 1949 picture, no longer would have been possible.

The 1950 training brochure does mention using a buzzer to notify the next train man in one direction.

This is how Graham Garfield’s excellent web site describes the retrofit:

After the CTA ordered the first set of 6000s (6001-6200), they set about retrofitting the 4000s to make them operate more safely, economically and basically more like the forthcoming 6000s. By the time the 6000s started rolling in, the changes had been pretty much completed. In this overhaul, the 4000s were given multiple unit door control, standardized to use battery voltage for control, the trolley feed on Evanston cars was tied together so only one pole per pair was needed, and they were paired up into “semi-permanently coupled pairs” (as opposed to the “married-pairs” of the 6000s), usually in consecutive numerical order. Additionally, the destination signs (which were all still hand-operated) were changed to display either the route names (i.e. “Ravenswood” or “Lake A”) or both terminals (i.e. “Howard – Jackson Park B”) so they wouldn’t have to be changed for the reverse trip. The number of signs per car was reduced from four to two, not counting the destination board on the front. All this allowed a two-man crew to staff a train of any length.

This does not of course explain door operation prior to 1950, and I promised to do further research, by contacting Andre Kristopans.

PS- in addition to this, in a previous comment on this post, Andre Kristopans wrote, “On CRT the conductor was the man between the first and second cars. The rest were Guards. Motorman and conductor worked together all day but guards were assigned according to train length that trip.”

So, I asked Andre to explain. Here’s what he wrote:

Wood cars very simple – man between each two cars as doors were completely local control. End doors of train were not used. Steel cars more complicated. Originally same as woods – man between each two cars. Remember steels and woods were mixed. In 1940’s changed so man could control doors at both ends of cars on either side of him, so conductor between 1and 2, guards between 3 and 4, 5 and 6, 7 and 8 only. Then in 1950’s full trainlined doors. Initially one conductor for 2 or 4 car trains, working between last 2 cars, on 6 or 8 car trains conductor between cars 3 and 4, guard between last two. Guard eliminated late 50’s, conductor in sane (same?) position now controls all doors.

Thanks for the info. On the woods and early 4000s, how did the guards and conductor signal each other?

They had signal bells. First rear guard pulled the cord that rang the gong at forward end of that car. Then that guard pulled the rope by his position to signal the next guard up. When the conductor got the signal and pulled his rope, the gong by the motorman rang and he released and started up.

Yes the 4000’s evolved. Originally basically operationally identical to woods. Circa 1943 before subway, converted from line voltage control to battery control. Now they were no longer able to train with woods. Around same time changed to door control at each end controlling doors at both ends. In 1950’s full mudc, paired with permanent headlights and permanent markers (over a period of a decade or so!). Shore Line’s Baldies book shows how this happened over time if you compare photos. Large door controls early for single door control, small door controls for entire car control, then no door controls on paired sets.

This is something that has not been looked into much, but a 1970’s 4000 was VERY different from a 1930’s 4000!

Our thanks to Andre and everyone else who contributed to this post. Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-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:

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For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

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

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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A Traction Photo Album, Part 3

J G Brill Master Unit Car #80 at Scranton, PA. 8-5-09.

J G Brill Master Unit Car #80 at Scranton, PA. 8-5-09.

Today’s post features more classic traction photographs by guest contributor Kenneth Gear. This is the third installment in a virtual career retrospective, covering 40 years of railfanning.

Ken has long been a friend of this blog. He has contributed greatly to our understanding of the Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, Wisconisn, and it is thanks largely to him that we have been able to share all 40 RRC LPs with you, digitally remastered on CDs and sounding better than ever.

We thank Ken for that, and for sharing these great images with our readers.

Click on these links to see Part 1 and Part 2 in this series.

-David Sadowski

Metra/ICG Highliners

Photo 1. RTA/ ICG Highliner MU trains pass near the Randolph Street Terminal, Chicago, IL. 6-23-82.

Photo 1. RTA/ ICG Highliner MU trains pass near the Randolph Street Terminal, Chicago, IL. 6-23-82.

RTA/ ICG Highliner #407 near the Randolph Street Terminal, Chicago, IL. 6-23-82.

RTA/ ICG Highliner #407 near the Randolph Street Terminal, Chicago, IL. 6-23-82.

Metra Electric Highliner #224 at the Vermont Avenue Station, Blue Island IL 3-25-03.

Metra Electric Highliner #224 at the Vermont Avenue Station, Blue Island IL 3-25-03.

Canadian National Box Cab

CN Box cabs #6714, # 6715, & #6722 at Montreal, Que. 6-14-85.

CN Box cabs #6714, # 6715, & #6722 at Montreal, Que. 6-14-85.

CN Box cabs #6714, # 6715, & #6722 at Montreal, Que. 6-14-85.

CN Box cabs #6714, # 6715, & #6722 at Montreal, Que. 6-14-85.

CN Box cabs 6710 & 6711 at Montreal photographed from the Amtrak MONTREALER approaching Central Station.

CN Box cabs 6710 & 6711 at Montreal photographed from the Amtrak MONTREALER approaching Central Station.

EX-NYNH&H 4400 “Washboard” MU

Ex-NH 4400 "Washboard" MUs in the dead line at New Haven, CT on March17, 1984 awaiting scrapping.

Ex-NH 4400 “Washboard” MUs in the dead line at New Haven, CT on March17, 1984 awaiting scrapping.

National Capitol Trolley Museum

Third Avenue Railway System car 678 still wears her bicentennial paint scheme as she sits outside the car barn at the National Capital Trolley Museum in May of 1989. The car has since been repainted in the TARS color scheme of red and white.

Third Avenue Railway System car 678 still wears her bicentennial paint scheme as she sits outside the car barn at the National Capital Trolley Museum in May of 1989. The car has since been repainted in the TARS color scheme of red and white.

DC Transit PCC #1101, 8-5-89.

DC Transit PCC #1101, 8-5-89.

DC Transit PCC #1101, 8-5-89.

DC Transit PCC #1101, 8-5-89.

Electric City Trolley Museum

J G Brill Master Unit Car #80 at Scranton, PA. 8-5-09.

J G Brill Master Unit Car #80 at Scranton, PA. 8-5-09.

Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

Pittsburgh Railways DE City Low-floor car #4398 at Washington, PA. 9-27-13.

Pittsburgh Railways DE City Low-floor car #4398 at Washington, PA. 9-27-13.

Pittsburgh Railways DE City Low-floor car #4398 at Washington, PA. 9-27-13.

Pittsburgh Railways DE City Low-floor car #4398 at Washington, PA. 9-27-13.

Conrail

Conrail E-33 #4602 leads a long freight through the Metropark station at Iselin, NJ. 8-14-78. From my very first roll of color slide film.

Conrail E-33 #4602 leads a long freight through the Metropark station at Iselin, NJ. 8-14-78. From my very first roll of color slide film.

Conrail E-44 #4430 leads a westbound train at the Metropark station, Iselin, NJ. From my very first roll of 35mm slide film.

Conrail E-44 #4430 leads a westbound train at the Metropark station, Iselin, NJ. From my very first roll of 35mm slide film.

Conrail sold E-44 #4464 to NJ Transit in 1983 for use as work train power. The locomotive never turned a wheel for NJT and it is shown here at the Ex-CNJ yard at Elizabethport, NJ. 5-25-83.

Conrail sold E-44 #4464 to NJ Transit in 1983 for use as work train power. The locomotive never turned a wheel for NJT and it is shown here at the Ex-CNJ yard at Elizabethport, NJ. 5-25-83.

Conrail sold E-44 #4464 to NJ Transit in 1983 for use as work train power. The locomotive never turned a wheel for NJT and it is shown here at the Ex-CNJ yard at Elizabethport, NJ. 5-25-83.

Conrail sold E-44 #4464 to NJ Transit in 1983 for use as work train power. The locomotive never turned a wheel for NJT and it is shown here at the Ex-CNJ yard at Elizabethport, NJ. 5-25-83.

Odds and Ends: Miscellaneous Traction:

New Orleans Streetcar

In 1982 I was in New Orleans, LA making an overnight connection between Amtrak’s CRESENT and the SUNSET LIMITED. In the general vicinity of the Amtrak station I took several photos of the streetcars. All of the streetcar photos were taken in the vicinity of Lee Circle.

All of these cars were built by Perley Thomas in 1924.

Car #904 New Orleans, LA. 6-1-82.

Car #904 New Orleans, LA. 6-1-82.

Car #904 New Orleans, LA. 6-1-82.

Car #904 New Orleans, LA. 6-1-82.

Car #911.

Car #911.

Car #923.

Car #923.

Car #953.

Car #953.

Car 968.

Car 968.

Car 968.

Car 968.

Car #971.

Car #971.

New York City Transit Authority

R-36

I wanted to include this photo in spite of the fact that the subject is Amtrak SSB-1200 #550 at Q Tower at Sunnyside, Queens, New York. I hope it will be of interest to traction fans because of the IRT subway train of NYCTA R-36 "Redbirds" passing overhead in the background. 6-20-87.

I wanted to include this photo in spite of the fact that the subject is Amtrak SSB-1200 #550 at Q Tower at Sunnyside, Queens, New York. I hope it will be of interest to traction fans because of the IRT subway train of NYCTA R-36 “Redbirds” passing overhead in the background. 6-20-87.

R-42

A "W" train of R-42 cars near the Ditmers Boulevard station in Astoria Queens, New York, 4-19-05.

A “W” train of R-42 cars near the Ditmers Boulevard station in Astoria Queens, New York, 4-19-05.

A "W" train of R-42 cars near the Ditmers Boulevard station in Astoria Queens, New York, 4-19-05.

A “W” train of R-42 cars near the Ditmers Boulevard station in Astoria Queens, New York, 4-19-05.

R-21

The NYCTA Car Repair yard at 207th Street in New York as seen from a boat in the Harlem River in 1986. Visible just behind the fence are two R-21 garbage motors. These cars were tasked with the removal of trash from the subway. The two shown here G7208 and G7206 have both been retired and most likely scrapped.

The NYCTA Car Repair yard at 207th Street in New York as seen from a boat in the Harlem River in 1986. Visible just behind the fence are two R-21 garbage motors. These cars were tasked with the removal of trash from the subway. The two shown here G7208 and G7206 have both been retired and most likely scrapped.

Apparently retired and not too far from being scrapped is R-21 #7086 at the 207th Street Car Repair yard.

Apparently retired and not too far from being scrapped is R-21 #7086 at the 207th Street Car Repair yard.

R-38

Retired R-38s #4002 & #4003 at the 207th Street Car Repair yard.

Retired R-38s #4002 & #4003 at the 207th Street Car Repair yard.

R-32A

Starting in 1988 and continuing to 1990, NYCTA sent most of the R-32 cars to Morrison Knudsen at Hornell, NY for overhaul. Conrail brought the rebuilt cars loaded onto flat cars down the River Line to Greenville yard in Jersey City, New Jersey. From there the New York Cross Harbor Railroad car floated them back to New York City. On February 13, 1990 several of the rebuilt R-32a cars, including #3613 head out, were sitting in Greenville yard awaiting a boat ride home.

Starting in 1988 and continuing to 1990, NYCTA sent most of the R-32 cars to Morrison Knudsen at Hornell, NY for overhaul. Conrail brought the rebuilt cars loaded onto flat cars down the River Line to Greenville yard in Jersey City, New Jersey. From there the New York Cross Harbor Railroad car floated them back to New York City. On February 13, 1990 several of the rebuilt R-32a cars, including #3613 head out, were sitting in Greenville yard awaiting a boat ride home.

Starting in 1988 and continuing to 1990, NYCTA sent most of the R-32 cars to Morrison Knudsen at Hornell, NY for overhaul. Conrail brought the rebuilt cars loaded onto flat cars down the River Line to Greenville yard in Jersey City, New Jersey. From there the New York Cross Harbor Railroad car floated them back to New York City. On February 13, 1990 several of the rebuilt R-32a cars, including #3613 head out, were sitting in Greenville yard awaiting a boat ride home.

Starting in 1988 and continuing to 1990, NYCTA sent most of the R-32 cars to Morrison Knudsen at Hornell, NY for overhaul. Conrail brought the rebuilt cars loaded onto flat cars down the River Line to Greenville yard in Jersey City, New Jersey. From there the New York Cross Harbor Railroad car floated them back to New York City. On February 13, 1990 several of the rebuilt R-32a cars, including #3613 head out, were sitting in Greenville yard awaiting a boat ride home.

Starting in 1988 and continuing to 1990, NYCTA sent most of the R-32 cars to Morrison Knudsen at Hornell, NY for overhaul. Conrail brought the rebuilt cars loaded onto flat cars down the River Line to Greenville yard in Jersey City, New Jersey. From there the New York Cross Harbor Railroad car floated them back to New York City. On February 13, 1990 several of the rebuilt R-32a cars, including #3613 head out, were sitting in Greenville yard awaiting a boat ride home.

Starting in 1988 and continuing to 1990, NYCTA sent most of the R-32 cars to Morrison Knudsen at Hornell, NY for overhaul. Conrail brought the rebuilt cars loaded onto flat cars down the River Line to Greenville yard in Jersey City, New Jersey. From there the New York Cross Harbor Railroad car floated them back to New York City. On February 13, 1990 several of the rebuilt R-32a cars, including #3613 head out, were sitting in Greenville yard awaiting a boat ride home.

Eventually NYCHR Alco S-1s 25 & 22 came across the float bridge and coupled to the flat car containing the subway cars. The immaculate Alcos then loaded the car of R-32As onto the car float for a trip across the bay to Brooklyn.

Eventually NYCHR Alco S-1s 25 & 22 came across the float bridge and coupled to the flat car containing the subway cars. The immaculate Alcos then loaded the car of R-32As onto the car float for a trip across the bay to Brooklyn.

End of the line: NYCTA R-10 cars face a very bleak future at Greenville yard, Jersey City, NJ.

End of the line: NYCTA R-10 cars face a very bleak future at Greenville yard, Jersey City, NJ.

Staten Island Rapid Transit Operating Authority:

R-44

R-44 cars at Great Kills, NY.

R-44 cars at Great Kills, NY.

R-44 cars at the terminal in Tottenville, NY.

R-44 cars at the terminal in Tottenville, NY.

R-44 cars at the terminal in Tottenville, NY.

R-44 cars at the terminal in Tottenville, NY.

Staten Island S-1 #821 & R-44 cars at Annadale. The Alco was leading an Electric Railroaders Association "Farewell to the Alcos" fan trip on October 25, 2008.

Staten Island S-1 #821 & R-44 cars at Annadale. The Alco was leading an Electric Railroaders Association “Farewell to the Alcos” fan trip on October 25, 2008.

Staten Island Railway Alco S-2 #821 & S-1 #407 make way for an approaching train of R-44 cars at Tottenville, NY in October of 2008.

Staten Island Railway Alco S-2 #821 & S-1 #407 make way for an approaching train of R-44 cars at Tottenville, NY in October of 2008.

R-44 car #421 in the shop at Clifton, NY.

R-44 car #421 in the shop at Clifton, NY.

R-33 De-Icer

SIRTOA R-33 De-Icer car #RD344 at Clifton, NY.

SIRTOA R-33 De-Icer car #RD344 at Clifton, NY.

SIRTOA R-33 De-Icer car #RD344 at Clifton, NY.

SIRTOA R-33 De-Icer car #RD344 at Clifton, NY.

SEPTA – City Transit Division

PCC

SEPTA Kawasaki car #9023 & PCC #2129 at the Elmwood Avenue car barn in Philadelphia, PA in January of 1992.

SEPTA Kawasaki car #9023 & PCC #2129 at the Elmwood Avenue car barn in Philadelphia, PA in January of 1992.

SEPTA PCC car #2129 at the CSX/SEPTA grade crossing at Main Street in Darby, PA.

SEPTA PCC car #2129 at the CSX/SEPTA grade crossing at Main Street in Darby, PA.

SEPTA PCC car #2129 at the CSX/SEPTA grade crossing at Main Street in Darby, PA.

SEPTA PCC car #2129 at the CSX/SEPTA grade crossing at Main Street in Darby, PA.

SEPTA PCC car #2129 at 49th Street & Woodland Avenue in West Philadelphia PA. This car was built by the St Louis Car Company in 1948. It is now preserved by the Pikes Peak Historical Street Railway at Colorado Springs, CO.

SEPTA PCC car #2129 at 49th Street & Woodland Avenue in West Philadelphia PA. This car was built by the St Louis Car Company in 1948. It is now preserved by the Pikes Peak Historical Street Railway at Colorado Springs, CO.

SEPTA Kawasaki car #9017, PCC #2129, & GM RTS bus (model T8W603) #8043 at Darby, PA in 1992.

SEPTA Kawasaki car #9017, PCC #2129, & GM RTS bus (model T8W603) #8043 at Darby, PA in 1992.

PCC #2129 at the 80th & Eastwick loop in Philadelphia, which is the end of the Route 36. This photo was taken on January 25, 1992, the car was used on a Wilmington Chapter NRHS charter this day.

PCC #2129 at the 80th & Eastwick loop in Philadelphia, which is the end of the Route 36. This photo was taken on January 25, 1992, the car was used on a Wilmington Chapter NRHS charter this day.

SEPTA PCC #2054 built by St Louis Car in 1941. Philadelphia, PA. 5-7-95.

SEPTA PCC #2054 built by St Louis Car in 1941. Philadelphia, PA. 5-7-95.

SEPTA PCC #2711 at the Elmwood Depot, Philadelphia, PA.

SEPTA PCC #2711 at the Elmwood Depot, Philadelphia, PA.

SEPTA PCC #2728 in Philadelphia Transportation Company colors at Philadelphia, PA in 1995.

SEPTA PCC #2728 in Philadelphia Transportation Company colors at Philadelphia, PA in 1995.

On May 7, 1995 Wilmington Chapter NRHS chartered SEPTA PCC #2799 in a Red Arrow paint scheme and PCC #2728 in the colors of the Philadelphia Transportation. The two brightly colored cars were posed side by side on Girard Avenue at 63rd Street in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Haddington.

On May 7, 1995 Wilmington Chapter NRHS chartered SEPTA PCC #2799 in a Red Arrow paint scheme and PCC #2728 in the colors of the Philadelphia Transportation. The two brightly colored cars were posed side by side on Girard Avenue at 63rd Street in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Haddington.

SEPTA motor flat #W-61 & PCC #2054 at Philadelphia, PA.

SEPTA motor flat #W-61 & PCC #2054 at Philadelphia, PA.

Work Cars

SEPTA motor flat #W-61 at Philadelphia, PA. 1-25-92.

SEPTA motor flat #W-61 at Philadelphia, PA. 1-25-92.

SEPTA crane #W-56 at Elmwood.

SEPTA crane #W-56 at Elmwood.

Motor flat # W-62 at Elmwood.

Motor flat # W-62 at Elmwood.

Kawasaki Streetcar

Line up of SEPTA Kawasaki cars at the Elmwood Avenue car barn in Philadelphia, PA. 1-25-92.

Line up of SEPTA Kawasaki cars at the Elmwood Avenue car barn in Philadelphia, PA. 1-25-92.

SEPTA Kawasaki car #9003 departs the Elmwood depot, 5-7-95.

SEPTA Kawasaki car #9003 departs the Elmwood depot, 5-7-95.

SEPTA Kawasaki car #9023 at Philadelphia, PA.

SEPTA Kawasaki car #9023 at Philadelphia, PA.

SEPTA Kawasaki car at 49th Street & Woodland Avenue in West Philadelphia, PA in 1992.

SEPTA Kawasaki car at 49th Street & Woodland Avenue in West Philadelphia, PA in 1992.

AEM-7

SEPTA AEM-7 #2304 laying over for the weekend at Trenton, NJ. 2-9-02.

SEPTA AEM-7 #2304 laying over for the weekend at Trenton, NJ. 2-9-02.

SEPTA AEM-7 #2307 at Conshohocken, PA in 1992.

SEPTA AEM-7 #2307 at Conshohocken, PA in 1992.

Interior of the cab of SEPTA AEM-7 #2307.

Interior of the cab of SEPTA AEM-7 #2307.

SEPTA AEM-7 2307 in the yard at West Trenton NJ. It will soon power a fan trip excursion around the Philadelphia area. 3-29-92.

SEPTA AEM-7 2307 in the yard at West Trenton NJ. It will soon power a fan trip excursion around the Philadelphia area. 3-29-92.

The Philadelphia Chapter NRHS arranged this over & under shot of SEPTA AEM-7 #2307 & P&W N-5 #451 at Norristown, PA on March 29, 1992.

The Philadelphia Chapter NRHS arranged this over & under shot of SEPTA AEM-7 #2307 & P&W N-5 #451 at Norristown, PA on March 29, 1992.

AEM-7 2307 at West Trenton, NJ.

AEM-7 2307 at West Trenton, NJ.

SEPTA Regional Rail:

Blueliner

SEPTA Ex-Reading Blueliner MU train on a Philadelphia Chapter NRHS special during a photo stop at Glenside, PA on June 5,1988.

SEPTA Ex-Reading Blueliner MU train on a Philadelphia Chapter NRHS special during a photo stop at Glenside, PA on June 5,1988.

SEPTA Blueliner #9128 at Wissahickon, PA. Number 9128 has been preserved by the Reading Technical and Historical Society at Hamburg, PA. According to their website this MU, Reading Class EPb was built as an 80 seat steel coach by Harlan & Hollingsworth (subsidiary of Bethlehem Steel) in 1932 and converted into a MU trailer.

SEPTA Blueliner #9128 at Wissahickon, PA. Number 9128 has been preserved by the Reading Technical and Historical Society at Hamburg, PA. According to their website this MU, Reading Class EPb was built as an 80 seat steel coach by Harlan & Hollingsworth (subsidiary of Bethlehem Steel) in 1932 and converted into a MU trailer.

SEPTA Ex-Reading class EPb Blueliner MU #9116 in 1988.

SEPTA Ex-Reading class EPb Blueliner MU #9116 in 1988.

The engineer's Controls of SEPTA Blueliner MU #9119.

The engineer’s Controls of SEPTA Blueliner MU #9119.

Inside Blueliner MU #9114.

Inside Blueliner MU #9114.

SEPTA Blueliners on a fan trip passing the Ex-PRR interlocking tower at Overbrook, PA on the famed Pennsy Mainline. 6-5-88.

SEPTA Blueliners on a fan trip passing the Ex-PRR interlocking tower at Overbrook, PA on the famed Pennsy Mainline. 6-5-88.

SEPTA Blueliner #9129 at Elm Street Station in Norristown, PA in 1989.

SEPTA Blueliner #9129 at Elm Street Station in Norristown, PA in 1989.

SEPTA Blueliner #9129 at Elm Street Station in Norristown, PA in 1989.

SEPTA Blueliner #9129 at Elm Street Station in Norristown, PA in 1989.

Blueliner #9129 departs from the upper level of 30th Street Station Philadelphia, PA.

Blueliner #9129 departs from the upper level of 30th Street Station Philadelphia, PA.

Silverliners

A train of SEPTA Silverliner IV MUs departs Cornwall Heights, PA. 1-10-10.

A train of SEPTA Silverliner IV MUs departs Cornwall Heights, PA. 1-10-10.

SEPTA Silverliner II #9004 (Ex-RDG) at the Philadelphia Airport Station in 1988.

SEPTA Silverliner II #9004 (Ex-RDG) at the Philadelphia Airport Station in 1988.

SEPTA Silverliner III #238 on a R-1 Airport line train at the Philadelphia Airport station.

SEPTA Silverliner III #238 on a R-1 Airport line train at the Philadelphia Airport station.

SEPTA Silverliner III #227 at West Trenton NJ. 3-29 -92. This MU was built by St Louis car in 1967.

SEPTA Silverliner III #227 at West Trenton NJ. 3-29 -92. This MU was built by St Louis car in 1967.

A 3 car train of SEPTA Siverliners crossing the Delaware River at Morrisville, PA in January of 2010.

A 3 car train of SEPTA Siverliners crossing the Delaware River at Morrisville, PA in January of 2010.

SEPTA Silverliner II #263 & Silverliner IV #182 at Lansdale, PA in April of 1993.

SEPTA Silverliner II #263 & Silverliner IV #182 at Lansdale, PA in April of 1993.

Silverliner IV #333 departing the upper level of 30th Street Station Philadelphia, PA in 1988.

Silverliner IV #333 departing the upper level of 30th Street Station Philadelphia, PA in 1988.

SEPTA Silverliner IV #368 on a R-5 train arriving at the Upper Level of 30th Street Station, Philadelphia PA. 4-25-93.

SEPTA Silverliner IV #368 on a R-5 train arriving at the Upper Level of 30th Street Station, Philadelphia PA. 4-25-93.

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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We thank you for your support.

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Red Arrow in West Chester

Double-ended Red Arrow 13 at the end of the line in West Chester (Gay and High Streets) circa 1954.

Double-ended Red Arrow 13 at the end of the line in West Chester (Gay and High Streets) circa 1954.

The same location today.

The same location today.

The Red Arrow Lines in Philadelphia’s western suburbs are a real example of perseverance. Privately owned and operated until 1970, and now by SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority), Red Arrow (or, as it was known for some time, the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company) can trace its origins back to 1848.

Only two lines (Media and Sharon Hill) remain of its vaunted interurban network. The smaller Ardmore trolley was replaced by bus at the end of 1966, with its private right-of-way portion converted into a dedicated busway.

Today, we celebrate the Red Arrow with some classic pictures, mainly featuring its longest line, between 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby and West Chester. This is a distance of some 19 miles end to end along West Chester Pike.

The West Chester line was to some degree a victim of its own success. It helped stimulate growth in the region to such an extent that West Chester Pike was widened in 1954, displacing the trolley. It was replaced by buses.

The Red Arrow story is made all the more remarkable when you consider that much of this line was single-track, and still does not provide a one-seat ride into downtown Philadelphia. Riders must change trains at 69th Street Terminal and ride the Market-Frankford subway into town.

Lack of a one-seat ride into Chicago’s Loop is widely credited with killing off the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban, which ended passenger service in 1957. But Red Arrow has never had a one-seat ride and its service continues to this day.

Much credit for its survival must go to Merritt H. Taylor, Jr. (1922-2010), who guided it into the modern era, and finally had little choice but to sell out to SEPTA. Red Arrow was one of the very last holdouts against public ownership and set a very high standard for the industry.

From what I have heard, Merritt Taylor was something of a “closet railfan,” who learned to operate the cars as a youth and sometimes took them out for late-night “joy rides” to West Chester.

In 1954, Philadelphia Suburban Transportation purchased the Philadelphia and Western, which operated the Norristown High-Speed Line. This 13 1/2 mile long, grade-separated third-rail route also continues today under SEPTA.

Until 1956, the Norristown line included a branch to Strafford, which gave name to the famous Strafford cars that ran alongside the more well-known Bullets. Today, SEPTA is working on plans to extend the High-speed Line to King of Prussia.

For the longest time, Red Arrow favored J. G. Brill railcars, which were built in nearby Philadelphia, including Master Units and Brilliners in the 1930s and 40s. But with that firm’s exit from the market in the early 1940s, there was one order of double-ended cars circa 1949, made by St. Louis Car Company.

Although those cars had styling very much like PCC streetcars, they had conventional interurban running gear and are thus not technically considered “true” PCCs. Service on the Media and Sharon Hill lines is handled by 29 modern Kawasaki cars, built in 1981.

We hope that you will enjoy this trip down memory lane in the Keystone State. Meanwhile, back here in Chicago, one can only wonder what fate might have awaited the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin if it had been run by Merritt Taylor, Jr. in the 1950s. For all we know, it might still be with us in some form.

As for West Chester, SEPTA ran commuter rail service there until 1986, when it was cut back due to deteriorating track conditions. There are hopes for restoring service by the year 2040. Meanwhile, the bus service that replaced the West Chester trolley remains popular and convenient.

You can read my 2013 report on the Media trolley centennial fantrip here. (Videos are here.)

-David Sadowski

PS- You can read an interesting report on the Ardmore line and its busway successor here.

Red Arrow 78 and 80 in 1959. These were Brill-built “Master Units.” Garrett Patterson adds, “It might be pointed out with the second image, that both 78 & 80 operate to this day, #78 at PTM in Washington, PA, and #80 at Steamtown.”

Red Arrow 17. Michael T. Greene writes, “The first picture of Red Arrow 17 was taken in Media, probably at the end of the line, sometime starting in 1956, based on the 1956 Plymouth parked (or passing) by the trolley.” Kenneth Achtert: “The shot of #17 is at the end of the line in Media (Orange St.) as evidenced by the two poles raised as the operator is in the process of changing ends.”

350 W. State Street in Media, the end of the Media light rail line.

350 W. State Street in Media, the end of the Media light rail line.

Near 69th Street Terminal. This is where the Ardore and West Chester lines (left) converged with Media and Sharon Hill (right). Over the years, the tracks to the left have been cut back to just a few short blocks where cars can be stored.

Near 69th Street Terminal. This is where the Ardore and West Chester lines (left) converged with Media and Sharon Hill (right). Over the years, the tracks to the left have been cut back to just a few short blocks where cars can be stored.

Brilliner 6 in Ardmore service near 69th Street Terminal circa 1954.

Brilliner 6 in Ardmore service near 69th Street Terminal circa 1954.

Near 69th Street Terminal.

Near 69th Street Terminal.

A Brilliner near 69th Street Terminal.

A Brilliner near 69th Street Terminal.

A West Chester car at 63rd and Market in 1905. (Robert Foley, Jr. Collection)

A West Chester car at 63rd and Market in 1905. (Robert Foley, Jr. Collection)

Car 12 at a passing siding along West Chester Pike circa 1954.

Car 12 at a passing siding along West Chester Pike circa 1954.

Near 69th Street Terminal circa 1954.

Near 69th Street Terminal circa 1954.

Car 12 at a passing siding along West Chester Pike circa 1954.

Car 12 at a passing siding along West Chester Pike circa 1954.

Brilliner 3 at the end of the line in West Chester, circa 1954. This car is an Express. There were many photos taken here over the years, by the W. T. Grant dime store. The line was single track going into town.

Brilliner 3 at the end of the line in West Chester, circa 1954. This car is an Express. There were many photos taken here over the years, by the W. T. Grant dime store. The line was single track going into town.

An outbound car in “side of the road” operation along West Chester Pike, circa 1954. Matt Nawn: “The scene of #22 outbound along West Chester Pike appears to be near Broomall. The homes along this part of West Chester Pike look much the same today. Zooming in on the photo, a former Acme store near the intersection of West Chester Pike and PA Route 320 can be seen in the background. “

The same location today. That certainly appears to be the same house at right. We are looking west on West Chester Pike in Broomall, just east of PA Route 320.

The same location today. That certainly appears to be the same house at right. We are looking west on West Chester Pike in Broomall, just east of PA Route 320.

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Near 69th Street Terminal.

Near 69th Street Terminal.

A Sharon Hill train at 69th Street Terminal, circa 1954. Garrett Patterson: “Sharon Hill Train of Center Doors was most likely a School Tripper servicing Archbishop Pendergast (girls) and Msgr. Bonner (boys) at Lansdowne Ave.” On the other hand, Matt Nawn says, “The two-car train of center door cars is probably a few years too early to be a school tripper to Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast High Schools (combined into one school in recent years). These schools did not open until the late 1950s.”

Double-end car 14, a product of St. Louis Car Company, signed for Sharon Hill in the 69th Street Terminal circa 1954. Garrett Patterson: “Where #14 is shown loading at 69th St., the track was paved to street rail condition days before the cessation of West Chester car service for the startup of the W Bus which took its place.”

Caption: 2 car “MU” Train, which operated along with an extra single car behind it on the last rail trip (by MPRA Club) to West Chester, PA., Sunday, June 6, 1954.

Car 12 in August 1952. Garrett Patterson: “Llanerch Car house.” Kenneth Achtert: “That shot of #12 in August 1952 would be at the Llanerch car barn. The street at the top of the hill behind the cars is West Chester Pike, and the car barn structure is to the right out of the frame.” (Arthur B. Johnson Photo)

This postcard, showing the end of the line in West Chester, was mailed in 1907. The view is the opposite of the one shown at the top of this page. Caption: “You might take the early trolley to Atlantic. Think the photo is something worth having, thanks.”

The same view today. That's the Greentree building at left, built around 1930.

The same view today. That’s the Greentree building at left, built around 1930.

Red Arrow 41 on the West Chester line in 1945.

Red Arrow 41 on the West Chester line in 1945.

Cars 14, 20 and 68 at a photo stop along the West Chester line on the June 6, 1954 NRHS fantrip.

Cars 14, 20 and 68 at a photo stop along the West Chester line on the June 6, 1954 NRHS fantrip.

Brill “Master Unit” 78, built in 1932, at the West Chester end of the line on August 24, 1941. This car is now preserved at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington, PA.

Car 19 along West Chester Pike. What was once a “side of the road” operation is now part of the road. This long view gives you some idea of the distances involved on this 19-mile line.

Car 17 at a passing siding along West Chester Pike on April 25, 1954.

Car 17 at a passing siding along West Chester Pike on April 25, 1954.

Car 66 (plus one) at Edgemont Siding on the West Chester line.

Car 66 (plus one) at Edgemont Siding on the West Chester line.

Cars 14 and 15 running in multiple unit operation at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

Cars 14 and 15 running in multiple unit operation at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

Cars 69 and 71 at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

Cars 69 and 71 at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

Cars 69 and 71 at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

Cars 69 and 71 at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

Cars 14 and 15 at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

Cars 14 and 15 at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

Young railfan with a box camera, 62 years ago.

Young railfan with a box camera, 62 years ago.

This picture shows Red Arrow Brilliner 8 and an older car at the end of the Ardmore branch on May 15, 1949. It looks like the older car is in fantrip service, while the Brilliner is the regular service car ahead of it. The Ardmore branch was replaced by buses in 1966.

This picture shows Red Arrow Brilliner 8 and an older car at the end of the Ardmore branch on May 15, 1949. It looks like the older car is in fantrip service, while the Brilliner is the regular service car ahead of it. The Ardmore branch was replaced by buses in 1966.

Here, Red Arrow Brill Master Unit 86 is the regular service car at the end of the line in West Chester, with the older fantrip car behind it. Again, the date is May 15, 1949.

Here, Red Arrow Brill Master Unit 86 is the regular service car at the end of the line in West Chester, with the older fantrip car behind it. Again, the date is May 15, 1949.

Red Arrow 66 and 7t6 at St. Albans Siding in Newtown Square on June 6, 1954.

Red Arrow 66 and 7t6 at St. Albans Siding in Newtown Square on June 6, 1954.

Here, we see Red Arrow car 66 heading up a two-car train on May 6, 1962. This is the Clifton-Aldan stop on the Sharon Hill line.

Here, we see Red Arrow car 66 heading up a two-car train on May 6, 1962. This is the Clifton-Aldan stop on the Sharon Hill line.

The same location today.

The same location today.

Red Arrow car 21 on the private right-of-way section of the Ardmore line. Since Ardmore was converted to bus at the end of 1966, this area has been paved over to create a dedicated busway.

Red Arrow car 21 on the private right-of-way section of the Ardmore line. Since Ardmore was converted to bus at the end of 1966, this area has been paved over to create a dedicated busway.

The photo caption reads, "Two car streamline train arriving at Norristown, looking up from R. R. tracks." The date is May 12, 1935, meaning these "Bullet" cars were just a few years old.

The photo caption reads, “Two car streamline train arriving at Norristown, looking up from R. R. tracks.” The date is May 12, 1935, meaning these “Bullet” cars were just a few years old.

Although the late Merritt Taylor, Jr. may have been, in some fashion, a "closet railfan," he was also responsible for the ill-fated Railbus experiment on the Red Arrow Lines in 1967-68. This was an attempt to replace rail with buses that could also run on railroad tracks. Fortunately, the effort proved to be a failure. Taylor had found that he couldn't simply convert all his rail lines to bus service, without losing much of the rights-of-way in turn due to the terms under which rail service had started many years earlier. It turns out that the requirements of a railcar and a bus are too much different to be combined into a single vehicle. Within a couple years of this experiment, Taylor sold Red Arrow to SEPTA, and the Norristown, Media and Sharon Hill lines remain rail to this day.

Although the late Merritt Taylor, Jr. may have been, in some fashion, a “closet railfan,” he was also responsible for the ill-fated Railbus experiment on the Red Arrow Lines in 1967-68. This was an attempt to replace rail with buses that could also run on railroad tracks. Fortunately, the effort proved to be a failure. Taylor had found that he couldn’t simply convert all his rail lines to bus service, without losing much of the rights-of-way in turn due to the terms under which rail service had started many years earlier. It turns out that the requirements of a railcar and a bus are too much different to be combined into a single vehicle. Within a couple years of this experiment, Taylor sold Red Arrow to SEPTA, and the Norristown, Media and Sharon Hill lines remain rail to this day.

Red Arrow "Master Unit" 79 is inbound in 1949 on either the Media or Sharon Hill line, in spite of the sign saying Ardmore (thanks to Kenneth Achtert for that correction). He adds, "It was (still is) standard practice for Red Arrow operators, when changing ends at the outer end of their route, to set the sign on what would be the rear of the car for the inbound trip to read their next outbound destination. Thus, when the car arrived at 69th St. Terminal and went around the loop to the boarding platform the rear destination sign was already set. This was actually the more important sign, as most passengers approached the cars from the rear coming from the main terminal (and from the Market-Frankford Elevated line)." (Mark D. Meyer Photo)

Red Arrow “Master Unit” 79 is inbound in 1949 on either the Media or Sharon Hill line, in spite of the sign saying Ardmore (thanks to Kenneth Achtert for that correction). He adds, “It was (still is) standard practice for Red Arrow operators, when changing ends at the outer end of their route, to set the sign on what would be the rear of the car for the inbound trip to read their next outbound destination. Thus, when the car arrived at 69th St. Terminal and went around the loop to the boarding platform the rear destination sign was already set. This was actually the more important sign, as most passengers approached the cars from the rear coming from the main terminal (and from the Market-Frankford Elevated line).” (Mark D. Meyer Photo)

Red Arrow "Master Unit" 82 is at the 69th Street Terminal on August 8, 1948. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Red Arrow “Master Unit” 82 is at the 69th Street Terminal on August 8, 1948. (Walter Broschart Photo)

On September 12, 1959, Philadelphia Suburban Transportation 3, a 1941 "Brilliner," is on Lippincott Avenue north of County Line Road, on the short Ardmore line which was bussed in 1966.

On September 12, 1959, Philadelphia Suburban Transportation 3, a 1941 “Brilliner,” is on Lippincott Avenue north of County Line Road, on the short Ardmore line which was bussed in 1966.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka "Red Arrow") cars 5 and 14 pose at 69th Street Terminal on June 22, 1963. The car at left is a Brilliner, from the last batch of trolleys built by Brill in 1941. The car at right was built by the St. Louis Car Company in 949. Although it looks much like a PCC, it was not considered such as it had standard interurban trucks and motors. Both types of cars were double-ended.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka “Red Arrow”) cars 5 and 14 pose at 69th Street Terminal on June 22, 1963. The car at left is a Brilliner, from the last batch of trolleys built by Brill in 1941. The car at right was built by the St. Louis Car Company in 949. Although it looks much like a PCC, it was not considered such as it had standard interurban trucks and motors. Both types of cars were double-ended.

A SEPTA commuter train, ex-PRR, at West Chester in May 1979. SEPTA rail service to this station ended in 1986, but the West Chester Railroad began running a not-for-profit tourist operation of train service on weekends between West Chester and Glen Mills in 1997. (Photo by Paul Kutta)

A SEPTA commuter train, ex-PRR, at West Chester in May 1979. SEPTA rail service to this station ended in 1986, but the West Chester Railroad began running a not-for-profit tourist operation of train service on weekends between West Chester and Glen Mills in 1997. (Photo by Paul Kutta)

PS- Here is a video with many additional pictures of the Red Arrow Railbus:


A Red Arrow PCC!

Kenneth Gear writes:

I really enjoyed the latest Trolley Dodger installment about the Red Arrow Lines.

Although the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company never owned a “true” PCC, one SEPTA PCC car, number 2799, was painted in their red & cream paint scheme! This car is single ended, unlike Red Arrow cars, but it was built by the St. Louis Car Company only a year earlier than the red arrow cars.

On May 7, 1995 I rode a Wilmington (DE) Chapter NRHS fan trip using Red Arrow painted car# 2799. Here are a few pictures.

For the last ten years or so, 2799 has been in the collection of the Baltimore Streetcar Museum.

All photos by Kenneth Gear:

PCC 2799 at Woodland Avenue & 60th Street, Kingsessing, PA

PCC 2799 at Woodland Avenue & 60th Street, Kingsessing, PA.

2799 on Girard Avenue at St. Bernard, West Philadelphia, note cobble stones in road.

2799 on Girard Avenue at St. Bernard, West Philadelphia, note cobble stones in road.

2799 on Lancaster Avenue & 41st Street, Barins, PA.

2799 on Lancaster Avenue & 41st Street, Barins, PA.

2799 on Girard Avenue at Corinthian, North Philadelphia.

2799 on Girard Avenue at Corinthian, North Philadelphia.

2799 at the Market Frankford Line Girard station, Philadelphia.

2799 at the Market Frankford Line Girard station, Philadelphia.

The Red Arrow logo as applied to SEPTA PCC car # 2799.

The Red Arrow logo as applied to SEPTA PCC car # 2799.


PS- Here is a video tour of the Ardmore busway:

Also, video of West Chester trolleys:


The Chicago, Aurora & Elgin

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin 309 heads up a four-car train of woods circa 1940. This “coffee and cream” paint job is not often seen in color pictures. This one, however, has the appearance of being hand-colored, most likely not digital, either. The original was faded, which would not happen with digital. This is more like an old colorized postcard.

The CA&E Spring Road station in Elmhurst in the mid-1950s.

The CA&E Spring Road station in Elmhurst in the mid-1950s.

My guess is this 1950 CA&E scene shows the end of the line in Elgin, If so, the commuter rail coaches on the other side of the river belong to the Milwaukee Road.

My guess is this 1950 CA&E scene shows the end of the line in Elgin, If so, the commuter rail coaches on the other side of the river belong to the Milwaukee Road.

A CA&E for-car train of steels, headed up by 460. Some think this may be 25th Avenue in Bellwood.

A CA&E for-car train of steels, headed up by 460. Some think this may be 25th Avenue in Bellwood.

CA&E wood car 26. (Paul H, Stringham Photo) Don’s Rail Photos: “26 was built by Niles Car in 1902. It was modernized in June 1943 and retired in 1959.”

CA&E wood car 314 at an unknown location. Don’s Rail Photos says, “314 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1909, #404. It was modernized at an unknown date.” (Paul H. Stringham Photo)


Mystery Photo

This Chicago “mystery photo” showing two young girls is dated 1943. But where was it taken? The “L” structure in the background has some ornamentation, and we see a gate car as well as a 4000. Since the 4000s were all put onto the State Street subway when it opened in October 1943, this picture probably dates to a late snowfall in spring. So far, our best guess is this may be Independence Boulevard on the Garfield Park “L”.


Recent Correspondence

From Andre Kristopans, following up on some earlier correspondence we had regarding CTA transfer regulations:

A few items –

Half-fare for high school students started 5/10/1943. Before that half fare was strictly for 7 to 11 years old, and I guess grammar school kids, though this I have never seen actually spelled out anywhere. Until 7/23/1961 there were two kinds of student permits, those that allowed reduced rate travel 24/7 and cost $1 per year, and those that allowed travel only to and from school on school days that were issued by the schools free. I remember those – they would be accepted anywhere from about 6 to 8 am, and only within one block of the school after letout.

Transfer regulations remained remarkably constant for all the years that map transfers were in use. Basically good at points of intersection, divergence, convergence, and extension with travel only in the same general direction. Walking transfers were basically within two city blocks, such as between the 92-Foster/NW Highway bus and 151-Sheridan bus at Berwyn.

Transfers were free until 7/23/61, then charged 5 cents. This also caused two minor changes in procedures. ID checks showing that you paid the express fare were now needed on Evanston Express trains south of Loyola, and ID checks of a different sort were issued by ticket agents when they were opening and closing stations. Before, you just got a regular transfer.

The problem with CMC was that CMC fares were HIGHER than CTA’s. CSL went from 7 to 8 cents 4/20/42, while CMC and CRT were already 10. CRT went to 12 cents 5/24/46. CTA went to 10 cents 10/1/47 on surface, CMC was 20 by 10/1/52, while CTA had only hit 20 on 6/1/52. Unfortunately I do not have any better info on changes in this time period. I have a CTA listing somewhere that detailed some of this, maybe I will find it one day… When I was doing much of this research in the 1980’s, I basically just went thru the service bulletins that sometimes had fare stuff, but often not, and I never did dig thru the fares bulletins.

This much I can tell you, though: As of 10/1/47 transfers surface to surface were free, transferring to the L paid 2 cents to agent at station, as L fare was 12 cents. I do not know for sure what CMC was at the time, but coming from CMC to surface was free, to L was 2 cents to the ticket agent, so CMC fare must have been 10c as of 10/1/47. Only thing I can surmise is that CMC must have raised fares more or less as CTA did, to 13 in 1948, 15 in 1949, 17 in 1951 and 20 in 1952.

If you want to see how the transfers worked, look under irm-cta.org – documentation – service pamphlets – 02/60 transfer regulations. In some ways a very complex system, but in other ways very straight-forward and very hard to cheat.

As a note of interest – on 10/1/43 when the subway opened, the schedule for the North-South, which included Ravenswood-Loop, Wilson-Loop, Wilson-Kenwood, and Stock Yards wood car routes, called for 416 steel and 284 wood cars, 840 trainmen, 230 ticket agents, 20 switchmen, 54 towermen, 38 porters, and carried 64% (325,000) of the L system’s passengers.


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 157th 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 197,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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

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

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